WASHINGTON: The United States hopes to move forward with naming Qatar as a major non-Nato ally, a status that provides foreign nations with benefits in defence trade and security cooperation, a senior official said on Thursday.
“We’re going to move ahead, we hope, with designating Qatar a major non-Nato ally,” Timothy Lenderking, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for Gulf affairs, told reporters in a conference call.
A number of officials, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani, met in Washington earlier this week.
“Major non-Nato ally” (MNNA) status gives a country preferential access to US military equipment and technology, including free surplus material, expedited export processing and prioritised cooperation on training.
Currently 17 countries have MNNA status, including Kuwait and Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet.
Qatar, host of the largest US military facility in the Middle East, has been locked in a dispute with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since 2017.
US officials have recently expressed a desire to sell the F-35 stealth war plane to the UAE after it agreed last month to normalise ties with Israel.
However, Israeli officials have objected, citing US policy for Israel to maintain a military advantage in the region.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.