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Remarks by President Obama and Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar After a Bilateral Meeting

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Location: Washington, DC

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to welcome the Emir of Qatar, and we have just completed a very useful conversation. I expressed to him my appreciation of the leadership that the Emir has shown when it comes to democracy in the Middle East and, in particular, the work that they have done in trying to promote a peaceful transition in Libya.

We would not have been able I think to shape the kind of broad-based international coalition that includes not only our NATO members but also includes Arab states without the Emir's leadership. He is motivated by a belief that the Libyan people should have the rights and freedoms of all people.

And as a consequence, Qatar is not only supportive diplomatically but is also supportive militarily, and we are very appreciative of the outstanding work of that the Qataris have done side by side with the other international coalition members.

In addition to our efforts in Libya, we have a strong relationship between our two countries. It is an economic relationship. It is a military relationship. It is a cultural relationship. And obviously, Qatar has done very well under His Highness's leadership, but his influence extends beyond his borders. And so we've had discussions about how we can continue to promote democracy, human rights, increased freedom and reform throughout the Middle East.

We discussed our mutual interest in seeing a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Emir provided me insights into how he sees reform evolving throughout the region.

We also discussed some of the areas where our two countries are cooperating beyond the Middle East, for example Qatar has been a leader internationally around the issues of food security, and so we are partnering on those issues. In North Africa, in Sudan, Qatar has helped to sponsor talks to see if we can resolve the situation in Darfur. And so what we've pledged is not only that we would continue these consultations in the short term, but that we would continue to work over the long term to deepen our relationship.

Finally, I congratulated His Highness on the fact that Qatar now has the World Cup in 2022. And so I told him that I would undoubtedly be an ex-President by that point, but that I was hoping that I could still get good seats if I traveled to Doha.

So, Your Highness, thank you for your visit. Thank you for your leadership on Libya. And we look forward to working with you for many years to come.

HIS HIGHNESS EMIR SHEIKH HAMAD BIN KHALIFA AL-THANI: (As interpreted.) I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for hosting me here in the White House and for having this meeting with you.

And I would like to extend to you our deep appreciation and thanks for the position the United States has taken in support of the democratization process that has taken place in Tunisia, in Egypt, and what is attempting to take place in Libya.

And I would like to reiterate what you have mentioned, Mr. President, and that is the strength of the relationship that exists between the United States and Qatar. And, of course, the most important issue for us in the region is that Palestine-Israeli conflict and how to find a way to establish a Palestinian state.

And we do understand your position, Mr. President, in supporting the existence of two states peacefully living side by side, and we support your position. And regarding Darfur, we will exert our best effort to cooperate with you on finding the best way out. This has been a longstanding issue, but I think with our common capabilities, we will be able to achieve that goal.

(In English.) And I will not forget to send your tickets for the World Cup. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, my friend.

Thank you, everyone.


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