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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.  Good afternoon, everyone.  It is a real pleasure to have Foreign Minister Al-Thani here at the State Department and in Washington. Qatar is a vital partner for the United States in so many different areas: of course, hosting about 12,000 of our service members, a strong economic partner; but beyond that, really a partner in trying to advance peace, trying to advance progress in the region, and of course, to stand against terrorism – a vital ally in the effort against ISIS, hosting intra-Afghan talks, and, of course, working with us, working with Israel, the Palestinians to support people in Gaza.

So I’m grateful to you, Mohammed, for the work that we’re doing together every single day, and very pleased to have you here.  We have a lot to talk about.  Welcome.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AL-THANI:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  I look forward for our discussion.  Thank you for hosting us here at the State Department.  It’s an honor for me to be – to meet with you the first time in D.C., but not the first time since you became Secretary of State.  But I really look forward for our discussion that will actually help in advancing this relationship between our two countries.  The relationship between Qatar and the U.S. has been, for decades, nothing but growing.  And we really look forward that our discussion will contribute to the growth of this relationship in advancing peace and security in the region, in helping in mediating some of the conflicts that will help with the stability of the region, cooperating also on other development project to help other countries as well.

So I really look forward for that discussion, Mr. Secretary.  And thank you very much for having us here.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Great to have you.

Thanks, everyone.

U.S. Department of State

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