By Ahmed al-Masri
DOHA (AA) – The U.S. has signaled willingness to work closely with Qatar to “deter and confront” external threats to the territorial integrity of the Gulf country, according to Qatar’s official QNA news agency.
In a statement issued at the conclusion of the U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue late Tuesday, the two sides called for an immediate solution to the Gulf crisis in a way that respects Qatar’s sovereignty.
"The United States expressed its readiness to work jointly with Qatar to deter and confront any external threat to Qatar’s territorial integrity,” the statement said.
In June, four Arab states – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
Qatar denies the accusations and contends that attempts to isolate the Gulf state was in violation of international law.
"Qatar and the United States discussed the Gulf crisis and expressed the need for an immediate resolution which respects Qatar’s sovereignty,” the statement said.
The two sides have also voiced concern over the “harmful security, economic and human impacts” of the Gulf crisis, according to the statement.
Held in Washington, the strategic dialogue was attended by high-ranking officials from both countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis and their Qatari counterparts Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Thani and Defense Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah.
A day before the strategic meeting, Qatar agreed to expand al-Udeid Air Base, which houses the U.S.'s Combined Air Operations Center, the United States Air Force Central Command Forward Headquarters and Central Command’s Forward Headquarters.
Roughly 10,000 U.S. service members are stationed at the air base.