A high-level meeting between officials from the U.S. and Qatar this week offers a chance for the Middle Eastern country to work toward healing a rift with its neighbors, as well as helping Washington solidify a key relationship in the volatile region.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are set to meet leading officials from Qatar on Monday to kick off the two-day U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, officials said.
Two framework agreements, on culture and economic cooperation, will be signed by the U.S. and by the Qatari delegation, which will be led by Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, according to Qatar’s ambassador to the U.S., Meshal bin Hamad al-Thani.
Qatar, a tiny country on the Arabian Peninsula with tremendous gas reserves, has carved out an outsize role as an intermediary in regional disagreements, as a source of influence through its Al Jazeera media outlet and as the host of the largest U.S. air base in the region. Mr. Pompeo traveled to the capital of Doha over the weekend to support brand-new talks there between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
While not formally recognizing Israel, Qatar has cooperated with Israelis and helped to mediate disputes.