18:37 GMT29 November 2020
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    The United States is ready to discuss the possibility of offering members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) major non-NATO ally status, Deputy White House National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said during a press briefing on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Although major non-NATO ally status countries are not members of NATO, they are considered as strong US allies and granted certain defense and security cooperation privileges with NATO, according to the US Department of State.

    Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, third right, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, center, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, third left, EU High representative for foreign policy Federica Mogherini, second right, and other NATO officials dance to We are the world  after a dinner during the NATO Foreign Ministers' conference in Antalya, Turkey, Wednesday, May 13, 2015
    © AP Photo / Abdulhamid Hosbas, Pool
    Rhodes explained, however, that the possibility of some of the GCC states being granted major non-NATO ally status had “not been the area of particular interest or focus for them in the run up to this summit.”

    "We are open to discussions on that topic,” Rhodes replied when asked whether the United States was prepared to offer GCC states major non-NATO ally status. “Some of them have that status already, and so I think we are open to a discussion in that area.”

    On Thursday, Obama and GCC leaders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are meeting at Camp David in the US state of Maryland to discuss a number of regional security cooperation issues, including ballistic missile defense.

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