Qatar’s Foreign Minister Speaks at the Center for the National Interest

    Curt Mills

    Politics, Middle East

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani

    Foreign Minister Al Thani explained that his country is under tremendous pressure from both Saudi Arabia and Iran, as Rex Tillerson tries to broker an end to the impasse. 

    As the Middle East is facing fresh fissures, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the Qatari foreign minister, is visiting Washington to bolster his country’s standing particularly with the Trump administration. His stops have included a meeting with the secretary of State Rex Tillerson and an address at the Center for the National Interest (CFTNI), as the Middle East appears to continue to disintegrate into a cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    The government in Doha is “sandwiched between two powerful forces in the region—Iran to the north and Saudi Arabia to the south,” the foreign minister noted at CFTNI. At State, Tillerson told the gathered reporters that the foreign minister is “a frequent visitor, but he’s always welcome.”

    The visit by Qatar’s top diplomat comes at a time of continued impasse between his government and the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, principally Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, over Doha’s relationship with Iran and its alleged funding of extremist groups.

    “We have a number of important things to discuss, obviously, so pleased he’s here,” Tillerson said.

    Al Thani’s address at CFTNI was attended by a number of prominent figures, including former director of national intelligence John Negroponte, former U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Burt, and former under secretary of defense (comptroller) Dov Zakheim as well current ambassadors from Singapore and Belgium.

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