President Joe Biden told Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that the US intends to identify Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, a move that would legally enhance Doha’s relationship with Washington.
Biden described Qatar as a “good friend and reliable partner” during a meeting with Sheikh Tamim at the White House on Monday.
“I’m notifying Congress that I will designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally to reflect the importance of our relationship; I think it’s long overdue,” Biden said from the Oval Office.
In its dealings with Washington, Doha would benefit from exceptional economic and military advantages as a result of its status.
“The Major Non-NATO Ally designation is a powerful symbol of the close relationship the United States shares with those countries and demonstrates our deep respect for the friendship for the countries to which it is extended,” the State Department says in a fact sheet.
After Kuwait, Qatar will become the second Gulf country to become a major non-NATO ally of the US.
Sheikh Tamim’s trip to Washington comes amid a political and military crisis in eastern Europe, where the US thinks Russia is contemplating an invasion of Ukraine.
The White House said last week that Biden will meet with Qatar’s emir to discuss “ensuring the stability of global energy supplies.” Qatar is a major producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Biden stated on Monday that the US-Qatar alliance has been critical to a number of US important interests, including Doha’s support in evacuating US nationals and friends during Washington’s tumultuous exit from Afghanistan in August.
Qatar’s involvement in sustaining security in Gaza and giving “life-saving assistance” to Palestinians was also mentioned by the US president.