A NATO official has expressed surprise at a comment made by Qatar's defense minister, Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, that his country's long-term strategic "ambition" was to join the Brussels-based alliance.
The European official, who declined to be named, said in an emailed response that only certain countries can become NATO members according to Article 10 of the Washington Treaty.
The official said that in March, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Brussels only to discuss the security situation in the region.
NATO defense officials will on Thursday hold a two-day meeting on Afghanistan, he said, adding that the Qatari defense minister will attend part of the talks because his country has allowed the alliance to use one of its bases to facilitate NATO operations in Afghanistan.
Attiyah had said in remarks to the press that “Qatar is a valuable and longstanding partner of NATO."
The minister said Qatar wanted to become a full member of NATO.
"Regarding the membership, we are a main ally from outside NATO... The ambition is full membership if our partnership with NATO develops and our vision is clear," he added.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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