US Envoy to Qatar to Discuss Counterterrorism Strategy.
Washington’s State Department stated that Christopher Landberg, the US Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism, is going to Qatar and Saudi Arabia this coming week.
The statement stated that he would lead a US delegation to Qatar as part of the US/Qatar Strategic Dialogue. This will allow him to meet with Qatari senior officials and discuss counterterrorism and law enforcement cooperation on a wide range of issues.
The agenda includes “the global campaign against ISIS” and “the combating of financing terrorism”.
The official from Saudi Arabia will attend the US-Gulf Cooperation Council Counterterrorism Working Group meetings, which take place between 13 and 16 February.
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The statement said that the three Working Group meetings would focus on three priority sets: Integrated Air and Missile Defense and Maritime Security Iran and Counterterrorism.
This delegation also includes Rob Malley, Special Envoy for Iran, Deputy Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Relations Daniel Benaim, as well as Dana Stroul, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East.
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The statement does not indicate whether Malley is part of the Qatar delegation.
The Al-Udeid Air Base is the largest American military base in the Middle East and it is located in the Gulf state. It is extensively used by the US to support its operations in the region.
Analysts believe that the US named Qatar last year as a major non NATO ally (MNNA), in an act that reflects the strengthening of ties between the two nations.
Nuclear deal revival
Landberg’s visit is scheduled for Doha just days after Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Qatar’s Foreign Minister, met with high-ranking US officials in Washington.
Sheikh Mohammed met with Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, to discuss the most recent relief operations in Turkey after the devastating earthquakes.
Blinken stated, “I would like to note today, among many other things Qatar’s incredible generosity when attempting to help those who are suffering terribly in Turkey or northern Syria from this devastating earthquake.”
Blinken and Sheikh Mohammed also discussed developments and Afghanistan, in addition to discussions on the 2015 nuclear agreement.
In addition to the revival of the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or (JCPOA), Malley and Sheikh Mohammed discussed it at the meeting.
“Both parties discussed bilateral relations between these two countries, the latest developments in nuclear agreement talks, as well as a number of topics of common interest,” Qatar’s Foreign Ministry stated in a statement.
After the inauguration by the US Joe Biden administration, in April 2021, indirect talks began in Vienna.
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Trump’s predecessor, the former president, unilaterally pulled out of the deal in 2018 as part of his campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran.
Last year, Qatar hosted a round of negotiations between the parties as a heavyweight mediator. Despite the lack of results, the talks did not produce any results. The US and Iran continued to trade blames over their desire to re-establish the accord.
Qatar, which has been calling for the revival of the JCPOA, appears to have broken the latest impasse in negotiations by having numerous talks with Iran and the US.
Sheikh Mohammed met his Iranian counterpart Hossein Abdollahian last month in Tehran. The former presented a message from the parties to the nuclear negotiations.
Qatar, in addition to the nuclear agreement, has called for dialogue between GCC and Iran.
In 2021, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke to star bulletin and “exhorted” regional actors to dialogue with Iran. He also said that Doha was the right time to broker these negotiations.