The United States is currently looking into naming Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, an official claimed, a move that would make the country the third in the Gulf region to obtain such status.
“We’re going to move ahead, we hope, with designating Qatar a major non-NATO ally,” said Timothy Lenderking, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for Arabian Gulf affairs, according to a Reuters report.
The status provides foreign nations with benefits in defence trade and security cooperation, including free surplus material, expedited export processing and prioritised cooperation on training. However, though status provides military and economic privileges, it does not require the US to give any security commitments to the designated country.
If obtained, Qatar will be the 18th in the world and the third country in the GCC to hold the status, right after Kuwait and Bahrain.
The move comes after US and Qatari officials, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, met in Washington earlier this week to talk about both countries’ economic and diplomatic ties.
Qatar hosts the largest US military facility in the Middle East and has established strong diplomatic ties with Washington, despite an illegal air, land and sea blockade imposed on the Gulf state by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt – all of which key American allies.