Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough concluded a productive trip to Bahrain, Qatar, and Afghanistan, during which he consulted with key counterparts on a range of issues of mutual concern. During his visit to Bahrain May 29-30, Mr. McDonough met with National Security Advisor Khalifa bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa and Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa and held a roundtable discussion with civil society leaders. In these meetings, Mr. McDonough stressed the importance of the U.S.-Bahraini partnership as well as the importance the United States places on reconciliation and reform in Bahrain. In Qatar, Mr. McDonough gave a keynote address at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum on May 30, and met with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim Al-Thani to discuss regional issues, including the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Finally, following the President’s May 1 trip to Afghanistan and the recent NATO Summit in Chicago, Mr. McDonough traveled to Afghanistan May 31-June 1 to meet with U.S. civilian and military leaders and with Afghan government officials. Mr. McDonough met with officials in Kabul, and in Regional Command-South and Regional Command-East. During all of these discussions, he reiterated the United States’ commitment to the strategy laid out by President Obama and reviewed our joint progress on the five elements of that strategy: transition to an Afghan security lead by the end of 2014; training sufficient and sustainable Afghan Security Forces; building an enduring partnership with Afghanistan; supporting Afghan-led reconciliation; and promoting regional stability.