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US Considers talks about expansion of Qatar’s Al-Udeid Airbase ‘Premature’

Al-Udeid Airbase
Despite efforts by the Qatari authorities to extend the contract of Al-Udeid military base beyond 2023, and the moves by the US Congress to transfer it to a different location, the Pentagon said that it was too early to discuss the issue, underlining the need to make appropriate planning for the future phase, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said on Tuesday that it was too early to discuss aspects of expanding the US Air Force base in Qatar, asserting that the US Army was working with the Qatari Ministry of Defense on more details and proposals to ensure that any new facilities are used effectively.
Doha said on Tuesday it was discussing with the United States the possibility to transform Al-Udeid to a permanent base, according to Qatar News Agency (QNA).
“The State of Qatar, along with its strategic US ally, is working on drawing up a roadmap for the future of bilateral relations, including the addition of Al-Udeid Air Base to the list of US permanent military bases,” QNA said.
The base comprises around 10,000 US troops and was used in the invasion of Iraq. Strikes against Syria and Iraq are also carried out through that base. Qatar has a second US military base, used by the US Central Command to conduct military operations.
Meanwhile, sources in the US Congress told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the House of Representatives was actually studying a number of requests to transfer of Al-Udeid base from Doha to another location outside Qatar. The agreement between the two sides on hosting the base ends in 2023, as it was renewed in December 2013 for ten years.