WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden announced Thursday 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 Iván 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.”

Under U.S. law, the designation of major non-NATO ally provides that foreign partner 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 alliance members are not obligated to defend a major non-NATO ally that comes under attack.

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