Flags of NATO member countries flutter during a NATO summit in Brussels.
Brussles: Nato on Wednesday declined an overture by Qatar to join the Western military defence alliance, saying membership was reserved to the United States and Europe.
It was responding to a comment by Qatar’s defence minister on Tuesday that his country’s long-term strategic “ambition” was to join Nato.
“According to Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, only European countries can become members of Nato,” an official of the 29-country alliance said. “Qatar is a valuable and longstanding partner of Nato,” the official said.
Speaking on the anniversary of a year-long boycott by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain that has seen Qatar isolated, Defence Minister Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Attiyah 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.”