SECRETARY CLINTON: (In progress) the embassy family. I also want to thank Mirembe for your work and your support on this trip into in particular.
I think that we are very fortunate to have such an extraordinary team here in Doha. There is a lot that happens here. It may be a small country, but it punches way above its weight. And, therefore, we need some of our best people here, working on behalf of the relationship between the United States and Qatar.
I was just told that next month we’ll be saying good-bye to Mahmoud Kandathil (ph), who is retiring after 37 years of service. Where is he? (Applause.) Thank you. Now, I’ve been told, Mahmoud, that you were one of the first Foreign Service nationals to serve here, and that when you started all those years ago, you met a new young officer, brand new to Doha, named Joseph LeBaron. So you two go way back, and I thank you for everything you’ve done for this embassy, and on behalf of the relationship between our two countries.
I’m at the end of a short but intense trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, to Yemen, Oman, and now here. And I had the privilege of meeting not only with government leaders, but representatives of civil society and everyday citizens. And the question really is: How can we build a better future? How can we work more closely and effectively with the United States? And every day you are helping to answer that question.
I know some of you are working to expand scientific cooperation between researchers from our two countries. Others of you are working on expanding educational opportunities. Others, still, working to enhance bilateral security. Still others, working to strengthen trade between our countries. More than 120 American companies already operate in Qatar. Two-way trade with the United States has nearly tripled since 2003, and it even grew 40 percent, despite the global recession.
So, we are looking to you to continue this very important work that you’re doing. And I hope you’ll think about new ways we can do it even better*. I appreciate the extraordinary commitments that you make, who serve far from home. I know it is sometimes under difficult circumstances. I want to thank not only our State Department and USAID family of Foreign Service and Civil Service officers, but all the representatives of the United States Government, not only civilians and military, who cooperate well together here to forward America’s interests and values.
I know that this is a tremendous opportunity, with everything going on in this country, and I especially thank our locally engaged staff, like Mahmoud (ph). We know we couldn't operate without you. Secretaries and ambassadors come and go, but the locally engaged staff stays and does the hard work, day to day, promoting, broadening, and strengthening our relationship.
So, before the planes* fly away, we are going to have a chance -- I'd like to say hello to all of you. If you kind of just -- I will start down there, and just come on up, and I will meet as many of you as I can before I head to the airport.
Thank you all very, very much.