Defense: Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s visit to Qatar

Washington, Dec 20, 2023.- Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

On December 19, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with the Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Qatar. He separately met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs, His Excellency Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah.

In both meetings, Secretary Austin underscored commitment to the bilateral strategic relationship. Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of the defense partnership with Qatar, a Major Non-NATO Ally. He also highlighted Qatar’s vital regional leadership role. The Secretary thanked both ministers for Qatar’s critical efforts to secure the release of 110 hostages held by Hamas, and expressed hope that Hamas will release the remaining hostages. He reiterated the need for regional de-escalation and underscored that the increase in U.S. military posture is a message to state and non-state actors seeking to escalate.

Secretary Austin also discussed Houthi threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and emphasized that Houthi aggression toward commercial vessels transiting critical waterways poses risks to the global economy. Secretary Austin conveyed U.S. desire to work with all nations who share an interest in freedom of navigation to secure safe passage for global shipping.


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