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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good afternoon, everyone.  It’s very good to see you all today, and especially good to see my friend, Foreign Minister Mohammed.  Welcome.  We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last year and a half now – in person, by phone, which is evidence of the strength and depth of the relationship of Qatar and the United States, a major non-NATO ally, a close partner on so many of the most challenging issues that we both have to deal with not only in the region but indeed around the world.

We have a lot to talk about today, as always, from regional security to our work on developing (inaudible) mutual investment and trade, and our very strong people-to-people ties.  In that regard, I will admit I’m looking forward to the World Cup being hosted by Qatar in just a few months, and that we will be one way or another cheering on Team USA.  But in the immediate we have a lot of work that we’re doing together that I look forward to continuing to work on with you today.  So welcome.  Good to have you here, my friend.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL THANI:  Tony, thank you very much for having me today.  It’s a really very great opportunity for us to meet and to continue our continuous discussion, especially when there’s challenges around us in the world has been unprecedented.   And Qatar-U.S. relationship has been always strong and we see eye to eye on a lot of global challenges, and we look forward for our discussion today on regional security issues, but also beyond that, on bilateral matters, how to strengthen our relationship between the two countries.

And of course, we wish all the good luck for the U.S. team in the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.  And I invite you to one of the matches. Can we go together there to (inaudible) and to enjoy the football?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Very hard to say no to that.  (Laughter.)


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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