President Joe Biden promised Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, that he will designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, granting the country special status.
During a meeting at the Oval Office on Monday, Biden told Tamim, the first Gulf Arab leader to visit Biden, that he planned to notify the U.S. Congress of the designation soon, which is granted to non-NATO allies that have strategic working relationships with the U.S. military, according to Reuters.
This trip showcases Qatar's ambitions in remaining a key international player, even after it went through a major collapse after regional embargoes were imposed on the country, per CNN.
- In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Doha, accusing it of getting comfortable with Islamist groups and Iran.
- Qatar didn’t cave and now, it is back in the game and on its way to becoming the third Gulf country after Kuwait and Bahrain to have the title of a non-NATO ally.
“Qatar is a good friend and reliable and capable partner. And 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 told reporters, per Reuters.
According to The New York Times, only 17 other countries have been granted that status by American presidents, including Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Jordan, New Zealand, Thailand, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Bahrain, Philippines, Argentina, Afghanistan and Tunisia.
What was on the meeting agenda?
Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of natural gas and may provide supplies to Europe if the Ukraine-Russia conflict disrupts gas deliveries.
- They also talked about the Iran nuclear talks and the relationship with Afghanistan. The emir brought up strengthening commercial and investment cooperation and hailed a new $34 billion deal the Qatar Airways Group signed with Boeing, per Reuters.
“This deal has the potential to be the largest export transactions of the year,” said Brian Deese, the director of Biden’s National Economic Council, in a Tweet.
- “In short, this deal boosts America’s civil aviation industry, promoting greater domestic production capacity, a healthy hybrid commercial-defense industrial base and strong supply chains, while uplifting the hundreds of small businesses that feed into Boeing’s supply chains,” he said.