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US officials praise Qatar leadership in Mideast

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (KUNA) -- Senior State Department officials said late on Thursday that the meeting between US Secretary Hillary Clinton and Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani focused on the situation in Libya and Syria in addition to the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
Clinton met yesterday with Emir of Qatar on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
A senior official noted that the discussions focused on Libya "because Qatar has shown real leadership, along with the UAE, in the Gulf Cooperation Council and in the Arab League, and with the NATO-led coalition regarding Libya". "The Secretary and the Emir talked about the need now to transition to a new phase of support for the Libyans because, while the fight is not quite over yet - Qadhafi has not been found - now it is important for the international community to pull together and support unified central authorities and make sure that these authorities are strong enough to withstand - to push back against any extremism and to withstand any differences between us", he added.
The US official said that "given that Qatar has had a long relationship with Syria, the Secretary also raised our concerns with Syria with the Emir, because the Emir is able to talk to Syria in a different way than we're able to talk to the Syrians". "They compared notes on how the region and the international community can, again, work together to push back against the type of killing and atrocities you see taking place in Syria, and to show support for the struggle of the Syrian people for dignity, freedom, and to participate in how they are governed", he added. The Qatari Emir and Clinton also talked about the Israeli-Palestinian issue and "the need for the region and the international community to support Egypt's democratic transitions, to help the people of Egypt meet their own aspirations".
The senior State Department official affirmed that the US wants "to see an independent, viable Palestinian State emerge to live side by side in peace and security with Israel and that we are looking for the best ways to get the parties back to the types of negotiations that could lead to that solution".
"The Secretary noted the importance of making sure that Egypt's transition includes support for minorities, role for women, and - so that Egypt becomes a force for - remains a force for moderation going forward", noted the US official.
"I think Qatar has - Qatar has a strong interest in Egypt's stability and Egypt having a successful transition, Qatar, like other Arab countries, like other friends of Egypt around the world, has a role to play", he concluded. (end) jm.rk KUNA 231015 Sep 11NNNN