Samuel Warberg, the regional spokesman for the US State Department, feels that US-Qatari relations are currently going through their best form for more than 50 years.
In an interview with QNA on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Warberg stressed that diplomatic relations between the two countries are at the peak of their prosperity.
He said that co-operation between the two countries span various fields including energy, defence, economy, education, food security, chemicals and healthcare, pointing out that Qatari-American relations are strong and based on a set of firm foundations on the way towards building and strengthening strategic co-operation and continuous consultation between the two leaderships and the two friendly countries, in order to serve their common goals and interests, and contribute to achieving stability, regional security and world peace.
He highlighted that Qatar and the US expressed their strong support for expanding bilateral relations and their joint commitment to enhancing global co-operation, peace and prosperity, as well as their commitment to promote trade and investment, confirming the great co-operation between the two countries in many important aspects, including addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, undertaking joint action to combat global terror financing, and many important areas that serve the interests of the two countries, region and world.
Warberg also praised the vision of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani that has led Qatar towards progress and prosperity, consolidated its position in the global economy and strengthened its role at the international level, underlining that the participation of His Highness the Amir in the work of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, comes at the height of its success on the international arena, reflecting the strength it enjoys, its global status, its influential role at the global level, which goes beyond borders, and its success in optimism and peace for the world.
Referring to the congressional designation of Qatar as a Major Non-Nato ally of the United States, Warburg said this designation follows the talks held by US President Joe Biden with His Highness the Amir at his first summit meeting with a Gulf leader at the White House since he assumed the presidency a year ago, where Biden said at the time that the designation of Qatar as a major ally of the US is a recognition of national interest in deepening defence and security co-operation with it.
He said that the designation of a state as a major non-Nato ally is a symbolic message of the strength of the close ties that bind the US to that country, and this designation will change the way the United States and its military deal with Qatar, opening up a new range of opportunities, exercises and operations.
Warberg emphasised that the new classification will provide Qatar with benefits in terms of closer security co-operation and military procurements, saying this classification is a very symbolic act that confirms the depth and strength of bilateral relations, considering that the status of a Major Non-Nato ally comes with some logistical benefits, and the main advantage of this classification is the prestige that Qatar acquires, and makes it join the privileged class of partners.
He explained that the US classification of Qatar as a Major Non-Nato ally is important for Qatar and the US, and said that this will bring positive results at the level of relations not only in the expansion of peace, but also at the level of national security of the two countries.
Speaking about the Palestinian issue, Warberg praised Qatar’s role in this issue and its steadfastness in adopting this issue, saying that many participants in the UN General Assembly meeting at the current session addressed the Palestinian issue, including Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who called for the implementation of a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli conflict with the Palestinians, which was announced by US President Joe Biden and his support for a two-state solution during his visit to Israel last August, which also comes after Israeli leaders avoided for years any mention of this issue at the UN.
On the Russian war in Ukraine, he stressed that the Russian president is the only one who has the keys to a peaceful solution in this crisis, by announcing an immediate withdrawal from all Ukrainian territory, indicating that the US will intensify its assistance to Ukraine in response to the war waged by Russia on the Ukrainian territories.
He clarified that the best way to end this war is peace and withdrawal from all Ukrainian territories, and in case of failure to reach a solution, the US will continue to strengthen Ukrainians on the battlefield, so that they will be able, at some point, to sit down and come to a solution that Ukraine accepts and preserves Ukraine as a sovereign and independent state in Europe.
Affirming that the Russian war in Ukraine has caused an acute crisis in the energy market, Warburg called on gas producers around the world to shoulder their responsibilities in terms of limiting price increases and ensuring market transparency, which is necessary to maintain the production capacity of fertilisers in all regions of the world, as well as maintaining the security of energy supplies to acceptable levels.
On Russia’s largest recruitment operation since World War II, Warburg considered that the Russian president’s mobilisation of another 300,000 Russian soldiers to fight is a significant escalation of a war that has already claimed thousands of lives, displaced millions, destroyed cities, damaged the global economy and revived the Cold War confrontation.
He noted that the decision to partially mobilise in Russia is a desperate act and evidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s loss of support among his allies, as well as that it will provoke anger among his people, pointing to the congruence of visions between Qatar and the US regarding the solution of the energy crisis in the world, saying that the energy crisis that the world is currently witnessing is unprecedented, and the pivotal role of Qatar and the US is clear to everyone, as both countries announced the need to provide gas in large quantities on the market, which the US pledged especially to Europe.
He praised Qatar’s prominent role in the Iranian nuclear issue, saying that Qatar had a prominent role in its quest to resolve the differences. Doha hosted last June a round of indirect talks between the United States and Iran, with the aim of reviving the agreement and breaking the deadlock on the issue, an initiative that won the praise of world public opinion and confirmed the confidence of the international community in the diplomatic efforts of Qatar.
Warberg pointed to the Qatari diplomacy in resolving differences as it provided an atmosphere that helps all parties in the success of the dialogue in the hope that the round of indirect talks will culminate in positive results that contribute to the revival of the nuclear agreement signed in 2015, thereby supporting and enhancing security, stability and peace in the region and opening new horizons for broader regional co-operation and dialogue with Iran.
He confirmed that the Doha round was able to bring the views between the two sides closer and break the deadlock that marred the negotiations on the issue, especially since confidence-building measures between the parties were the biggest challenge for Qatar, which the Doha Round succeeded in doing and the establishment of indirect Vienna talks also between American and Iranian officials last August.
He stressed that Qatar’s interest, great efforts and continuous contacts with Tehran and Washington in order to reach a common ground for returning to the Vienna negotiations, comes from its desire for the parties to return to the nuclear agreement, considering that this step constitutes a fundamental pillar of security and peace in the region, and opens up prospects for broader regional co-operation and dialogue with Iran, which benefits everyone, emphasising that Qatar has great diplomatic experience in resolving major issues, and it can certainly bring the negotiations of the nuclear agreement to a much better stage than they are now, and reach a formula that satisfies all parties leading to a new agreement that completely closes this file.
He ruled out that the Iranian nuclear issue has been closed or that negotiations have failed, confirming that there is still hope for a solution, and it is known that such issues take a lot of time to reach solutions that satisfy the concerned parties, expressing optimism about this issue.
Regarding the Syrian issue, Warberg expressed his deep admiration for what was stated in His Highness the Amir’s speech before the UN regarding the Syrian issue, stressing the similarity of visions between what His Highness said in this regard and his country’s vision to solve the Syrian crisis, criticising the inability of the international community to hold war criminals in Syria accountable for what they committed against the Syrian people.
Regarding Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Warberg expected that this hosting will reflect positively on Qatar and the region in general, adding that this reflected the country’s capability of hosting global events, and to present itself to the world in a way that creates a lot of opportunities.
He said that on the personal level, he hoped that his country gains advanced positions in this tournament. However, “as a diplomat”, he commended the great efforts made by Qatar to reach such a high level of preparation, which qualifies it to provide an unprecedented tournament, and also that this historic event will have an impact over the coming years.