The White House said Tuesday that President Biden will meet with Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, next week.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the two leaders will “consult on a range of regional and global issues of mutual interest,” including promoting security and prosperity in the Persian Gulf and broader Middle East.
The meeting will focus on “ensuring the stability of global energy supplies, supporting the people of Afghanistan, and strengthening commercial and investment cooperation between our countries,” Psaki added.
Qatar played a pivotal role during the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in August and formally represents U.S. interests in the country. The Gulf country has been a key player in the U.S. evacuation, including by hosting a site for Afghan evacuees to be vetted before arriving in the U.S.
This is Tamim’s first visit to the White House since Biden took office in 2021.
Psaki added that Biden will also thank Tamim for Qatar’s “extraordinary and ongoing effort to ensure the safe transit from Afghanistan of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and Afghan partners.”
The meeting is also set to highlight the close ties and “strong partnership” between the U.S. and Qatar, the White House added.
The official visit comes two months after the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding allowing Qatar to continue to temporarily host Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and eligible family members while their applications are processed.
The meeting between the two leaders also comes as the Biden administration is working to identify existing non-Russian natural gas stockpiles from North Africa, Middle East, Asia and the United States and engaging with major natural gas producers about potentially surging supplies to Europe if needed.
The official did not name the specific countries or companies with which the Biden administration is in talks about alternative supplies. However, CNN recently reported that the talks involve Norway and Qatar in addition to other countries.