US General: No plan to leave vital Al Udeid airbase
March 28 2018 09:57 PM
US General
General Joseph L Votel, Commander, US Central Command.

*Qatar's role in fight against terrorism lauded 

The US Central Command (Centcom) on Wednesday reiterated that it has no plans to move out of the Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar and the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey.
“We have no plans to depart (from) the airbase in Qatar and I am aware of some of these reports, I don’t know where they come from,” General Joseph L Votel, Commander, US Central Command told reporters during a 30-minute teleconference.
General Votel was giving an update on their operations for the US Centcom area of responsibility, which includes the Gulf region.

He said leaving the airbase in Qatar is “not something that we are contemplating at this point".
Gulf Times had reported earlier two leading US defence entities refuting the unconfirmed reports that the Americans are planning to leave the Al Udeid Airbase.
General Votel stressed that Qatar has been a good partner to the US in the fight against terrorism. Other countries in the region have also contributed to the endevour, he added.
“We are thankful for the support that they provide us, just as other countries of the region which provide support to us, and other coalition members,” he said.
According to General Votel, the US Centcom is looking forward to continue such relationship, hoping that some of the tensions are addressed at the political level and they will not have an impact on the military or security co-operation.
“This (relationship) has been a key for our combined security (co-operation) in the past,” he said.
Qatar has also taken very strong steps in recent months to assist the international community and the US in their campaign against IS, Al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorist groups, ambassador Nathan Sales, counter-terrorism co-ordinator at the US Department of State, had told Gulf Times in a telephonic conference earlier.
General Votel also said the US does not intend to leave Incirlik Airbase (in Turkey) at this point, as he cited the support of the Turkish government to the US. 
“Incirlik has been essential for the campaign (against terrorism) and we have no plans to stop any of the activities that we have been conducting and we thank Turkey for the support they provide to us,” he said.
General Votel has been travelling in the region for the last week and a half, beginning his trip in Afghanistan.
“I went there to look at how we are moving forward in our military preparations to implement our new policies and strategies in South Asia and I am pleased with what I saw,” he said.
He said he also visited two other Gulf countries where he had the opportunity to meet with partners. He discussed the ongoing efforts and evolving situation in the region, as well as “future inter-activities in support with each other.”
He also travelled to Iraq and Syria to meet with his counterparts, coalition leadership on the ground and indigenous partners.
“I am pleased with the continued progress I see with our forces and our coalition partners in the region, who are working together,” he added.

Last updated: March 29 2018 12:04 AM

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