The Qatari Armed Forces and the US Central Air Command celebrated the handing over of command of US Air Forces Central Command from Lt Gen Jeffrey L Harrigian to Lt Gen Joseph Gastella during a ceremony at the Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, Commander of the US Central Command Gen Joseph Votel, Chief of Staff of Qatar Armed Forces Major General Ghanim bin Shaheen al-Ghanim, a number of senior Qatari military officials, air force commanders and representatives of brotherly and friendly countries attended the ceremony.
Speaking at the programme, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs said Al Udeid Air Base reflects the close cooperation between Qatar and the United States and joint efforts to combat terrorism. The Joint Air Operations Center (CAOC), acts as the nerve centre of the US and allied forces air campaigns in the region and beyond against terrorism.
"As His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said during his meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington last April, highlighting the strong and solid military partnership between the two countries that lasted 45 years, which was characterised by continued cooperation to maintain the security and safety of the region and the largest region, " HE al-Attiyah said.
"Together we are stronger and we aim to continue our work with our strategic partners to support all efforts that seek lasting peace and prosperity. We are proud of the work we are doing together and will continue to seek to strengthen this partnership and push it to new heights," HE al-Attiyah said.
He also referred to the first meeting of the strategic dialogue between Qatar and the United States , which was held in January this year. "We agreed on a number of issues that serve the two countries in various fields and signed agreements reflecting our joint commitment to combating human trafficking and terrorism, and its funding in addition to launching an initiative to develop existing infrastructure at Al Udeid Air Base, where the plan was a result of Qatar's permanent commitment to supporting the US ally and in line with our shared vision of a strong and continuous bilateral defence partnership between our two countries."
HE the Minister also praised his recent visit to the United States, stressing that the production line of the F-15 "Ababil", which was launched during that visit, would enhance the combat capabilities of the Amiri Air Force.
Concluding his speech, HE al-Attiyah stressed the importance of concerted efforts among the allies and the rejection of differences between partners to achieve the ultimate goal of the prosperity of our countries and achieve a just and comprehensive peace for the region and the world at large.
General Joseph Votel, commander of the US Central Command praised Qatar's efforts to promote joint efforts between the two sides to meet the common challenges facing the region, stressing the important role of Al Udeid Air Base in the fight against terrorism.
"We are seeking to strengthen joint cooperation to achieve peace and stability in the region," said Lt Gen Joseph Gastella, Commander of the US Central Air Force, stressing the importance of enhancing mutual trust that will lead to success in realising security and stability.
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