Biden announces major non-NATO ally status for Colombia

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he intends to designate Colombia as a major non-NATO ally, a step that will provide the Latin American nation with certain benefits in the areas of defense, trade and security cooperation.

Biden made the announcement during a White House meeting with outgoing Colombian President Ivan Duque.

“I’m proud to announce that I intend to designate Colombia a major non-NATO ally,” Biden said. “That’s exactly what you are, a major, major non-NATO ally, and this is a recognition of the unique and close relationship between our countries.”

Duque said he appreciated Biden’s decision, saying the step recognized “values and the principles that we have shared.”

Major non-NATO ally is a designation under U.S. law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense, trade and security cooperation, according to the State Department, and is a symbol of the close ties the U.S. shares with such countries.

However, these countries are not entitled to the same security guarantees as full-fledged members of the NATO alliance, as NATO member countries are not obligated to defend a major non-NATO ally that comes under attack.