The medal is the highest honours granted by the US Department of Defense to non-military personnel
Qatar’s foreign minister was awarded the US Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
The award is one of the highest honours that the US DoD can grant to a private citizen, politician, non-career federal employee, or a foreign national, who has rendered exceptionally distinguished service of significance to the US Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense commended Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani on his commitment to making Qatar a major ally to the US, his role in advancing peace efforts in Afghanistan, and his efforts in resolving the Gulf Crisis through diplomacy.
During the ceremony, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien handed the medal to Sheikh Meshaal bin Hamad Al Thani Ambassador of Qatar to the US, on behalf of the FM.
The medal was adopted in 1947 and recognises the exceptionally distinguished service of significance to the Department of Defense as a whole, or service of such exceptional significance.
It is also an acknowledgment by the Department of Defense of individuals’ achievements and contributions that qualify them to receive this medal.
In the past, the medal was awarded to former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as other prominent personalities.
The award-giving came in the final days of US President Donald Trump’s administration and just days ahead of the inauguration of resident-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.
In an exclusive opinion piece for Doha News, experts at Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) said changes are expected to be made under a Biden presidency.
“Among small adjustments, Biden is expected to return to a more moderate, but fundamentally unchanged approach of prior administrations, which centres on close ties to Israel and arms sales that fuel the region’s arms race,” Michael Eisner, the general counsel of DAWN and Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director at the newly-formed organisation and the former US State Department Attorney-Adviser, wrote.
“Qatari citizens also should welcome the election of a President Joe Biden, who will bring pressure to bear to end the Saudi and UAE-led blockade and will minimise the significance of Qatar’s ties with Iran,” the expert analysts added.