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Clinton, Qatar Prime Minister Meet

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Qatar Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim Jabr Al-Thani met to discuss a broad range of issues. Top on the list is the situation in Yemen. Both leaders talked about how to stabilize the country, assist in securing its borders and provide for its people in combating al-Qaida.

"The instability in Yemen," said Secretary Clinton, "is a threat to regional stability and even global stability, and we're working with Qatar and others to think of the best way forward to try to deal with the security concerns."

Secretary Clinton thanked Qatar for its efforts to end the crisis in Darfur and to promote security and stability in the broader Middle East. Both the United States and Qatar have a mutual interest in moving toward a comprehensive peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"We both share the goal of an independent and viable Palestinian state," said Secretary Clinton, "and we are committed to doing what we can to help re-launch peace negotiations that would lead to a two-state solution."

Secretary Clinton and Prime Minister Al-Thani also talked about the future of Iraq. Elections are scheduled for March 7th. "It's important that Iraq be reintegrated into the larger region," said Secretary Clinton, "and that it go through this next electoral cycle and create greater stability among the various constituents within the country."

U.S. military leaders said they are confident that Iraqi security forces are up to the challenge that the national election poses. According to Army General Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, the security situation in Iraq is greatly improved.

“The size of al-Qaida has been reduced significantly," he said, "they can no longer conduct the attacks independently, they can only do it with the help of others. Baathist elements are no longer capable of operating independently as well, so the successes we’ve had have forced them to work together.”

The United States and Qatar share many areas of mutual interest. The U.S. looks forward to continuing to work with Qatar as a partner for increased stability in the Middle East and elsewhere.