News story: Defence Secretary meets Qatari counterpart to discuss international response to...

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  1. Michael Fallon has met with the Qatari Minister of State from Defence Affairs, His Excellency General Haman bi Ali-Al Attiyah today to discuss important regional issues and areas for military cooperation to counter ISIL.

    He said:

    The Iraqi government and the Iraqi forces are leading the efforts to push back ISIL and their violent ideology. It is important that the UK work with allies in the Middle East region as part of an international coalition, to support these endeavors. The UK continues to play a leading role in coalition efforts in Iraq and Syria and recent months have seen a significant step up in our operational activity. We are one of the largest contributors to air strikes over Iraq, second only to the US and have now trained almost 1000 Peshmerga forces.

    Qatar remains one of the UK’s most important allies in the region and I was pleased to meet with my counterpart today to review the role both our countries can play in these tackling extremist groups.

    The meeting today again demonstrates the UK’s commitment to the security of Gulf countries and will be the second between the two Defence Ministers following a trip to Qatar by Michael Fallon in November last year where he welcomed updated legislation to prevent terrorist funding in the country. It also follows a visit by the Prince of Wales as the UK seeks to build on the close political and military ties between the two nations.

    As a trusted Gulf Partner the UK has a close relationship with the Qatari Armed Forces and the countries regularly take part in joint exercises and training.

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