Qatar an ‘indispensable partner’ of United States
July 25 2018 12:56 AM
Ryan Gliha
Ryan Gliha speaking to reporters yesterday. PICTURE: Ram Chand

Qatar is an indispensable partner of the United States and relations between the two countries have never been stronger, Ryan Gliha, outgoing chargé d’affaires at the US embassy in Qatar, has said.
“Over the years, I have witnessed the growth and strengthening of the partnership between the two countries. This has not just been in military and security co-operation but also in several other areas such as economy, education and culture, among others,” Gliha, who will be leaving Doha next week on completion of his term, told the media yesterday.
“Billions of dollars have been spent to lead the fight against terrorism from the Al Udeid airbase for the last 15 years. In last January, an offer was made to expand the base and those talks are going on right now. We are grateful for what Qatar has provided and will provide in the future, and the details are being worked out. Qatar is an indispensable partner for the United States,” the official stressed.
“We expect to see the strengthening of the relationship between Qatar and the US in the coming days. Over 13,000 US and Coalition service members are hosted in Qatar. This is the largest US military installation in the region and Qatar’s support for the US forces is critical for US interests to promote regional stability. To date, Qatar has contributed $8.5bn towards base construction and operating expenses and recently another $3bn has been committed towards the upgrade of the base,” he disclosed.
The chargé d’affaires said there has been an increase in the number of visits by high-level officials of both countries. “In April, we had the state visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the US. In January, we had the Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue. Five cabinet-level US secretaries and five Qatari ministers participated in it. The number of cabinet-level visits last year had been more than any year in the last 10 years,” the official described.
He also noted that security relations have taken on a new dimension in recent years.
“Qatar has bought nearly $26bn worth of military equipment and systems. This is not just an investment. It is a relationship that lasts for several years as these systems and equipment are used for a number of years,” maintained Gliha.
“Two weeks ago, we opened a Defence Language Institute in Qatar. It is an investment in people. We will be teaching English to thousands of Qatari soldiers as well as pilots of the aircraft and others, which will help them go for training in the US for any of the systems that Qatar has purchased from the US,” he explained. 
According to Gliha, in 2017, US was Qatar’s single largest import partner and the US has been the largest import partner over the last decade. He also noted that US energy companies have invested a large amount of money in Qatar’s energy sector and contributed to Qatar’s economy.
Gilha also revealed that Qatar has pledged to invest $45bn in the US by 2020 through Qatar Investment Authority and $10bn will be directly invested in US infrastructure. He also noted that both countries will be following up on the commitments made at the  Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue that took place in January this year.
“We will be exploring ways in which we can continue enhancing and deepening our relationship. We will also have the second bilateral Strategic Dialogue here in Doha,” he added.

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