U.S. President Joe Biden told Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on Monday that the country is to be designated as a major non-NATO ally.

“Qatar is a good friend, and reliable and capable partner. And I’m notifying Congress that I will designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally to reflect the importance of our relationship. I think it’s long overdue,” reported Reuters.

Biden told al-Thani during their Oval Office meeting that he would notify Congress soon about the designation.

They also discussed ongoing Iran nuclear talks in Vienna ad well as the situation in Afghanistan, where interests are now represented by Qatar.

Biden also welcomed the new $20 billion deal that Qatar Airways Group signed with Boeing—one that will create many new jobs, the White House said in a statement.

Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas, which could come into play as Russia continues to threaten Ukraine with invasion.

JNS

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