Remarks by Secretary Mattis and Minister Al Attiyah at the Pentagon

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis; Minister of State for Defense for Qatar Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS:  Well, good morning, excellency, and welcome to you to the Pentagon, to your party.  It's good to have you here.


      As we both know, over many years, we have stood together, both of our militaries in the effort to try to stabilize a region of great importance to the international community and the relationship between our two militaries through good times and bad has been one that we've always taken a great deal of pride in.


      I would just say too that the interests that we share are what bind us together, but there's also a friendship between our forces, thanks to your -- your hosting of so many of our forces there and the support you've given to so many of our troops who've rotated through and come home with very fond memories of their time in your country.  So we appreciate your hospitality, your serious investment in so much of what -- the infrastructure there, so much of which supports our forces there and we look forward that we continue to cooperate in many ways.


      But again, Excellency, welcome to the Pentagon.  It's a pleasure to have you here.


      DEFENSE MINISTER KHALID BIN MOHAMMAD AL ATTIYAH:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.


      Ladies and gentleman, good morning.  I'm really honored and happy to be with you here today this morning.  And as you said, Mr. Secretary, the relation between us and the United States is not only the cooperation, it’s the friendship we are enjoying together and we are so glad to have your -- (inaudible) -- working side by side -- (inaudible) -- armed forces.  And I hope to see more of this cooperation between us.


      Thank you again for hosting.




      SEC. MATTIS:  You know, excellency, relationships never stay the same.  They either get better or they decline, and we're committed here to improving our already strong relationship.  So again, welcome.  I'm sure there's at least one question that I'll answer from the press here.  You're authorized to say nothing if you so desire.


      But what's on your mind there, young man?


      Q:  Mr. Secretary, are you concerned about the increased number of civilian casualties in and around Mosul?


      SEC. MATTIS:  There is no military force in the world that has proven more sensitive to civilian casualties.  We are keenly aware that every battlefield where an enemy hides behind women and children is also a humanitarian field, and we go out of our way to always do everything humanly possible to reduce the loss of life or injury among innocent people.


      The same cannot be said for our adversaries, and that's up to you to sort out.


      But thank you very much to the press and we will now ask you to -- thank you.




      Q:  Can I ask you one more -- secretary, please, can I ask you what the increased number of troops means for the battle of western Mosul?


      STAFF:  That's it, folks.