Qatar emir to visit Biden for talks on natural gas supplies to Europe
The talks come as the US attempts to build a contingency plan to reassure Europe in case of a disruption in gas supplies from Russia over the tensions with Ukraine.
On Monday, the emir of Qatar will meet US President Joe Biden in the White House to discuss Afghanistan, in addition to plans and efforts to provide natural gas to Europe in case of a Russian invasion in Ukraine, according to Axios.
Europe is 40% reliant on Russian natural gas, and this undermines Biden's attempts to stir up sanctions that are made to coerce Russia if tensions in Ukraine lead to conflict. The sanctions, apparently, will be imposed from both sides of the Atlantic.
The White House is aiming to secure Qatar's help in assuring European allies that they can enforce hawkish sanctions on Russia with minimal damage regarding the energy crisis.
On Tuesday, senior administration officials said that the US has been in contact with the international community, including Qatar, which is home to the world's third largest gas reserves.
Talks between the US and Qatar on the matter are still in their preliminary stages, but the proposal is expected to be raised in the meeting between Biden and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, according to informed sources.
The emir’s meeting with Biden will provide both countries with an opportunity to discuss “ensuring the stability of global energy supplies,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
It is expected that other issues will also be discussed, such as "security and prosperity in the Gulf and the broader Middle East region” and “supporting the people of Afghanistan”.
Qatar has also been acting as a mediator between the US and the Taliban after the US' messy withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, which allowed the Taliban to consolidate their rule after the 20-year war.
The visit also comes amid a row between Qatar Airways and Europe's Airbus. After the Qatari airline sued Airbus for more than $600 million over paint and surface flaws, a new order for jetliners was revoked.
Qatar is now considering an offer from Boeing to launch a new version of the company's 777x model, with the Qatar airways chief hinting that his company will be willing to buy as many as 50 freighters.