WASHINGTON, D.C.: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reaffirmed America’s strategic security partnership with Qatar on Thursday (Friday in Manila), the Pentagon said, amid a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf.
It was also announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Kuwait—one of the countries angry at Qatar in the spat—on July 10 at the invitation of Kuwait to discuss the row.
Mattis, who spoke with his Qatari counterpart Khaled bin Mohammed al-Attiyah by phone, discussed the status of operations against the Islamic State group.
Qatar hosts a vital US-led command center at the Al-Udeid air base, where the anti-IS coalition launches raids against the jihadists.
“Secretary Mattis and Minister al-Attiyah affirmed their commitment to continued US-Qatar cooperation and deepening their strategic partnership,” a Pentagon readout of the conversation stated.
Saudi Arabia is leading a four-country blockade of Qatar in the region’s biggest crisis in years.
Mattis stressed the importance of de-escalating tensions “so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals,” the readout stated.