U.S. President Joe Biden has promised Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, that he will designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally.
In a meeting in the Oval Office, Biden said he planned to notify the U.S. Congress of the designation.
Biden did not provide a timeframe by which he will take this decision. The designation of a major non-NATO ally is granted by the United States to close non-NATO allies that have strategic working relationships with the U.S. military.
“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,” said Biden to reporters with the emir sitting at his side.
Qatar is the world’s biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas and may divert LNG to Europe if Russia disrupts gas deliveries to the continent.
Tamim was also meeting separately with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and discussing arms sales and other military issues with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, said an official.
Biden said, he and the emir had a lot on their agenda including strengthening commercial and investment cooperation. He also hailed a new deal signed by Qatar Airways Group with Boeing which he said will create “tens of thousands of good-paying jobs.”
Boeing Co has secured a launch order for its new freighter version of its 777X passenger jet from Qatar Airways; it has also secured a provisional order for 737 MAX jets.