US confirms new ‘major non-NATO ally’
US President Joe Biden signed a memorandum on Monday designating Colombia as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, a special status that will grant Bogota multiple defense and trade privileges in its relations with Washington.
Although the White House made a pledge to grant the affiliation to Colombia back in March, the official declaration comes only now, coinciding with the South American state's offer of military aid to Ukraine.
After his country was designated a major non-NATO ally, Colombian President Ivan Duque took to Twitter to praise Washington for a “decision that reaffirms the good moment of our bilateral relations.”
Earlier on Monday, Colombian defense minister Diego Molano announced that a group of his country’s troops would help train Ukrainian soldiers in de-mining techniques, following a request from Washington.
“This training will be given by 11 military engineers who will go to a NATO member country which is a neighbor of Ukraine,” the defense chief said.
Major non-NATO ally status has been granted to 19 nations around the world, recently including Qatar. It provides US partners with economic privileges such as loans, cooperative research, and exclusive defense contracts with NATO countries. The status, however, does not provide any defense guarantees to the designated states.