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US To Designate Qatar as ‘Major Non-NATO Ally’
US President Joe Biden and Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, emir of the State of Qatar, meet in the Oval Office of the White House on January 31, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

US To Designate Qatar as ‘Major Non-NATO Ally’

The United States will designate Qatar as a “major non-NATO ally,” President Joe Biden told the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during a meeting at the White House on Monday. The move would be a formal upgrade to the relationship between the two countries. The only other Gulf country that enjoys that special status is Kuwait.

Later on Monday, Biden formally notified US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of his decision to upgrade Qatar’s status. “I am making this designation in recognition of Qatar’s many years of contributions to US-led efforts in the US Central Command area of responsibility and in recognition of our own national interest in deepening bilateral defense and security cooperation with the State of Qatar,” he said.

The Emir also met on Monday US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who called the US defense partnership with Qatar “a cornerstone for our strategic relationship.” Austin thanked the Emir for “all that Qatar has done and continues to do to support the United States in Afghanistan.  We couldn’t have evacuated more than 124,000 people from Afghanistan without your help. Austin said he is “focused on moving to a new era of partnership” with Qatar.

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