Remarks With Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani After Their Meeting

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Emiri Diwan
Doha, Qatar
February 14, 2010

PRIME MINISTER SHEIKH HAMAD BIN JASSIM AL THANI (Via translator) In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful, in the name of God we welcome Secretary of State of the United States, Ms. Hillary Clinton. She has met in a long meeting with His Highness, the Emir, and this was a very positive meeting to consult and discuss issues of mutual interest for both countries, and also regional interests as well as all the region nearby.

Of course, we discussed important issues such as Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, the Palestinian cause, and the issue with Iran. And I think that the meeting was useful and important for both sides.

As you know, Qatar and USA have enjoyed long and strong relationships. And with the Administration of President Obama, these relations have been renewed in a bigger and stronger way. And we went back to their old track, and we are happy for this because we consider the United States as an important partner for us in Qatar.

Once again, I welcome Her Highness, the Secretary of State, and I give her the floor.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Your Excellency. I appreciate greatly the very warm hospitality that the Emir provided me in the meeting that we just concluded, and I am very pleased to be here with the prime minister, with whom I have had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions in the past year, as Secretary of State. I am very happy to be here for this important forum.

Both the Prime Minister and I will be addressing the forum in just a few minutes. We will then be answering questions from the audience. And we will cover, I am sure, many of the very important issues that we just discussed together.

The friendship between our two countries is very important, and one that we are going to see the results of our mutual efforts on so many issues, from the work here that we are doing at the forum to promote better understanding and dialogue, to the work that Qatar is doing in food security, which dovetails with one of our principal initiatives, to the important matters here in the region, which we discussed at length.

So, again, Prime Minister, thanks to you and to the Emir for a very useful and productive discussion.

PRIME MINISTER SHEIKH HAMAD BIN JASSIM AL THANI (Via translator) We take only two questions, because we will answer questions in the conference.

MODERATOR: (Via translator) So, Mr. Hatham from Al Jazeera channel.

QUESTION: (Via translator) Good evening, Your Excellencies. Two of -- for Madam Secretary of State -- two of your assistants said to news agencies that your visit is to obtain support for putting pressure on Iran. And has Turkey done something in this regard?

Another question to the Prime Minister. Have you received an answer from the letter of guarantees you asked for -- the peace process?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that there are many reasons for my visit here to Qatar. We have a broad range of issues to discuss. Certainly, we talked in depth about Iran. The Emir has a lot of very well-developed and informed opinions about Iran that he shared with me.

We made it clear that we want to, as we have from the beginning of President Obama's term, engage with Iran. And President Obama has consistently said that he is willing to do so. Unfortunately, that has not been received positively by the Iranians.

We have always had a dual track policy, because we believe that it is important for the stability and the peace of the region that Iran not acquire nuclear weapons. They are going to have to make a decision as to which direction they will go. And we are going to continue to work with our friends and partners in the region, as well as countries around the world, to send a clear message to the Iranians, and to take action in the Security Council that sends that message that we do not believe that Iran should be a nuclear weapons power. We believe they do have a right to peaceful nuclear power, and we stand ready to engage with them. But we are going to have to move forward in the absence of any positive response.

PRIME MINISTER SHEIKH HAMAD BIN JASSIM AL THANI (Via translator) As for the letter of guarantees, as you know, this was by demand from Arab countries, and Qatar presented itself with the United States. And it was that we needed a document that clarifies what is the United States' concept, and the way it sees the peace process, and what is it, what we call in English, the "end game?"

Because we, in Qatar, we don't think we or the United States want to only to speak about work for the process of peace. No. That's why we were very clear. Nevertheless, there are different Arab points of view. We have explained this in our statement made by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

And now they are speaking about talks. We don't -- proximity talks -- and we don't mind this. And this, if accepted by the specialized committee in the Arab League, in a way that the concept would be clear what is meant by proximity talks, (inaudible), and I think a discussion is going now between (inaudible) and George Mitchell about this subject.

I thank you, and I think we are late. We are very late. In fact, we must head to the conference. If you have other questions, work on them during the conference. Thank you.

PRN: 2010/T22-01