Pelosi Remarks Before Meeting with the Prime Minister of Qatar

January 5, 2010

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a brief press availability with His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani of the State of Qatar prior to their meeting this morning in the Capitol. Below are their remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Good morning.  It is a great honor for me to welcome the Prime Minister of Qatar, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad to the Capitol to visit with him once again.  I had the privilege of meeting with him in Qatar on one of my visits there.

The United States and Qatar have an important relationship.  When it comes to our most important issue — the security of our people — working together to fight terrorism and to make the globe a safer place is a common agenda that we have, and I look forward to our discussion today in furtherance of that security, especially in light of the Christmas Day incident.  Our relationship goes beyond that; while continuing on that, I am grateful to the government of Qatar for the hospitality it extends to our troops there.  I had the occasion to visit our troops, to see the hospitality extended, and again to express the appreciation of the American people for that hospitality.

And then there is the question of climate change, in which the government of Qatar is in the lead on climate change and I look forward to hearing from the Prime Minister of further issues relating to this important challenge that we all have in light of what happened in Copenhagen.

And then, of course, the issue of education.  My connection to Qatar is a personal one in terms of Georgetown University; my husband is Chairman of the Board of the Georgetown Foreign Service School and they opened their campus there a few years ago.  I was there for the opening and then had the privilege of speaking at the graduation this past year in May.  And that’s when I had the occasion to meet with the Emir, and the Sheikha, and the Prime Minister.  His strong leadership as Prime Minister is well known and in the spirit of friendship and respect and admiration of his leadership, on behalf of the Congress of the United States, it is my privilege to welcome His Excellency the Prime Minister to the Capitol.

Prime Minister Al-Thani.  Thank you very much Madam Speaker.  First, of course, Happy New Year for everybody.  I’m very honored to meet with you.

As you mentioned, the relation between Qatar and the United States is very important and a strategic relation for both sides.  We rely a lot on this relation with the United States and we would always be happy to work with our allies — especially the United States — for a more stable region.  As you know, there are a lot of problems in our region, which we try to share our view and to see how we can find solutions  —  especially in the peace process, which I am happy to see President Obama and the Administration has given a special care for the peace process.  It is very important because of the relation between us and between a lot of the terrorism which happened in our region and reflected out of our region.

So I’m very happy to be here and would be honored to discuss today the issues which is mutual interest between the two countries and we hope that we can continue this excellent relation with the United States.

Thank you very much.

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you all.