U.S. President Joe Biden will receive the ruler of Qatar at the White House on January 26, amid discussions between Washington and its European allies on how to meet Europe's energy needs if Russian supplies diminish in case Moscow invades Ukraine.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani planned to discuss Middle East security, safeguarding the stability of global energy supplies, and the situation in Afghanistan, where humanitarian conditions have worsened massively in the aftermath of the U.S. military's withdrawal and Taliban takeover last year.
Qatar is one of the world's primary producers of liquefied natural gas and is among the countries that the United States is hoping could aid Europe.
Some 125,000 Russian troops are deployed near the Ukrainian border, according to Ukrainian intelligence.
Biden has repeatedly warned that Russia will face severe consequences if it invades Ukraine again, after annexing the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
On January 26, the Biden administration said it was in touch with gas and oil suppliers from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia to bolster supplies to Europe in the coming weeks as part of the steps to reduce the danger of Russia cutting off energy exports in the escalating conflict over Ukraine.
Based on reporting by AFP and nytimes.com
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036