Pompeo, Qatari defense minister meet in Washington

Men discuss expansion of Al-Udeid Airbase, GCC, upcoming US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue

Pompeo, Qatari defense minister meet in Washington

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Wednesday with one of Qatar's top ministers to discuss ties and security of the Middle East region.

Pompeo and Qatari Defense and Deputy Prime Minister Khalid al-Attiyah conferred about the upcoming U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue in a sit-down at the State Department.

This dialogue was inaugurated in January and sought to enhance cooperation between Washington and Doha on defense, counterterrorism, trade and investment.

The two sides also talked about the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and how it could play into a strategic alliance in the region.

"The Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister discussed working toward a Middle East Strategic Alliance, anchored by a united GCC, to advance prosperity, security, and stability in the region," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

The GCC is a six-nation bloc of oil-rich Arab Gulf states, composed of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE collectively severed ties with Doha last June, accusing it of supporting terrorism. 

The Saudi-led axis also imposed an air, land and sea embargo on Qatar, which continues to vociferously deny the allegations.

Pompeo and al-Attiyah also talked about the expansion of Al-Udeid Airbase in Qatar, which hosts personnel from the U.S. and British Royal Air forces.