Qatar a “major non-NATO ally” of U.S.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar with President Biden at White House

President Biden on Monday named Qatar as a “major non-NATO ally” of the United States, a designation that clears the way for greater security cooperation and investment in the Gulf nation at a time when Mr. Biden is seeking help boosting natural gas supplies in Europe.

The president is eager to reassure European nations that they will not suffer natural gas shortages if a war between Ukraine and Russia breaks out in the weeks ahead. Russia is one of the largest suppliers of natural gas to Germany and other countries in western Europe.

Mr. Biden informed reporters of the planned designation on Monday before a meeting at the White House with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar. The president praised the relationship between the two countries over the past half-century on issues like Afghanistan, the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, and the fight against the Islamic State.

“I am notifying Congress that I will designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally to reflect the importance of our relationship,” Mr. Biden said. “I think it’s long overdue.”

Mr. Biden formally notified leaders in Congress of the designation in a letter, just hours after his statement to reporters.

“I am making this designation in recognition of Qatar’s many years of contributions to U.S.-led efforts in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and in recognition of our own national interest in deepening bilateral defence and security cooperation with the State of Qatar,” Mr. Biden wrote.