During Visit By President Duque To White House, US Upgrades Colombia To “Major Non-NATO Ally” Status
After White House meetings between Colombian President Ivan Duque and US President Joe Biden, the White House issued a statement confirming that Colombia will be designated a “Major Non-NATO Ally,” (MNNA) meaning that the two countries will collaborate even more closely on defense and security issues.
Biden also used the visit to announce that the US will donate another two million COVID vaccines, with some earmarked for the refugee population.
“The United States intends to designate Colombia as a Major Non-NATO Ally in recognition of our uniquely close cooperation in the hemisphere, Colombia’s significant contributions as a NATO Global Partner, its commitment to NATO’s mission to promote democratic values and commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, and its rejection of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine,” said the two administrations in a joint statement.
Nuclear Submarine Sent To Colombian Waters
Less than two weeks ago, Colombia hosted a US nuclear submarine in its Caribbean waters to participate in joint military interoperability exercises, after Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened to send Russian forces to Venezuela or Cuba. Colombia insists that Russian troops are already present in Venezuela and expelled Russian diplomats in a spy scandal in 2020.
What is a “Major Non NATO Ally?”
While MNNA status provides military and economic privileges, it does not entail any security commitments to the designated country.
Privileges resulting from MNNA designation under 22 U.S.C. §2321k :
- Eligible for loans of material, supplies, or equipment for cooperative research, development, testing, or evaluation purposes.
- Eligible as a location for U.S.-owned War Reserve Stockpiles to be placed on its territory outside of U.S. military facilities.
- Can enter into agreements with the United States for the cooperative furnishing of training on a bilateral or multilateral basis, if the financial arrangements are reciprocal and provide for reimbursement of all U.S. direct costs.
- Eligible, to the maximum extent feasible, for priority delivery of Excess Defense Articles transferred under section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act (if located on the southern or south-eastern flank of NATO).
- Eligible for consideration to purchase depleted uranium ammunition.
Privileges resulting from MNNA designation under 10 U.S.C. §2350a :
- Eligible to enter into an MOU or other formal agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense for the purpose of conducting cooperative research and development projects on defense equipment and munitions.
- Allows firms of a MNNA, as with NATO countries, to bid on contracts for maintenance, repair or overhaul of U.S. Department of Defense equipment outside the United States.
- Allows funding to procure explosives detection devices and other counter-terrorism research and development projects under the auspices of the Department of State’s Technical Support Working Group .
- Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Tunisia,
- In addition, Pub. L. 107–228 provides Taiwan shall be treated as an MNNA, without formal designation as such.
In addition to Colombia, the Biden administration granted the status to Qatar on the Arabian peninsula.
Above photo: An aerial port bow view of the nuclear-powered strategic missile submarine USS OHIO SSBN-726 underway (US National Archives)