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US-Qatar FTA not yet in negotiations phase — ambassador

Kuwait News Agency | 14 November 2006

US-Qatar FTA not yet in negotiations’ phase — ambassador

DOHA, Nov 14 (KUNA) — US ambassador to Qatar Chase Untermeyer said Tuesday the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Washington and Doha has not yet reached the official negotiations’ stage, but he brushed aside reports suggesting that FTA talks were frozen.

Untermeyer told a news conference that if Qatar has ended telecommunications monopolgy two years ago, this might have encouraged the US to start FTA negotiations sooner.

Untermeyer, meanwhile, said Microsoft, General Electric and Exxon Mobile were planning to establish research centers in the Education City in Doha.

At a military front, the ambassador denied the US would reduce number of its forces in Qatar. He said his country was planning to build infrastructure facilities in the Eideed Airbase for the American forces in Qatar.

He said Qatar and the US were cooperating to build a US Central Command in Eideed instead of the Siliya Base.

Untermeyer ruled out the US forces stay permanently in Qatar, saying their presence depends in permission exptended by the host country.

 source: KUNA