The strong ties between Qatar and the United States in several areas have further expanded in the past two years, said William Grant (pictured) said the outgoing Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires at the US embassy, yesterday.
“The relations between the US and Qatar are exceptional, really are exceptional. This is the result of strategic decisions made by the leadership of Qatar to work very closely with the US on a range of areas,” he said speaking to media at his official residence in Doha.
Grant emphasized that bilateral relations between Qatar and the US in trade, education, defence and others areas have significantly expanded in the last two years.
“Our business and economic relations are strong. Bilateral trade has increased by 35 percent in 2019 from 2018. We are seeing increasing investment in both countries, Qatar is investing in the US and the American companies are investing here,” he said.
Grant said the defence corporation between the two countries in areas of air, naval, and military has expanded.
“This (Qatar) is in an important location in the world, not necessarily a calm part of the world and it’s important for the US military to have a good base platform for its operations. And Qatar provides it. What is very obvious is the Al Udeid air base.
“We also have exceptional corporation outside the base as the navy of Qatar and the navy of US are doing more together. We are also seeing the military of Qatar becoming a stronger partner because of the joint operations, training and exercises.
Also the US is training pilots who are flying the top generation flights, we are training pilots of the helicopters that the US has sold to Qatar,” he said. According to Grant, the US has been also supporting Qatar in the work done to improve protection of foreign workers in areas such as training labour inspectors and legal experts.
“Qatar has made really tremendous steps to increase protection give workers the rights they deserve. We are very glad to assist Qatar in the very positive steps it take to protect rights of the workers ,” he said.
In education, Qatar Foundation’s six US partner universities have contributed significantly to Qatar’s development over the past years.
“This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Qatar Foundation and from the stand point of US, it has been a great success, because primarily six US universities are operating here."“And we think that it is a another way that US contributing to future growth of Qatar by helping to train the young people to bring the country to the next level,” said Grant.
Answering a question regarding the blockade imposed on Qatar by the neghbouring countries, Grant reaffirmed the US position and said, “This dispute is not good and should be resolved quickly. Its distracting us from more important priorities in the region, and we want them to come to an agreement and move on with more important things, that hasn’t happened yet.”
Grant has been Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires of the US in Qatar since August 1, 2018. He previously held the same position in Doha from July to November 2017. “It has been a fantastic experience living and working in Qatar,” he said.
Source: The Peninsula