Working Lunch with NATO and Mediterranean Dialogue Foreign Ministers

  • Last updated: 20 Aug. 2008 12:00

On 7 December 2007, NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers and their counterparts from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia met at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

This was the second meeting of NATO and Mediterranean Dialogue Foreign Ministers. Since the Istanbul Summit in 2004, the enhanced political dimension has gained both in regularity and substance.

Since the June 2004 Istanbul Summit, the annual Mediterranean Dialogue Work Programme for practical cooperation has been gradually expanded from more than 100 activities in 2004, to 200 activities in 2005, to 400 in 2006 and to more than 600 practical activities and events in the year 2007.

An ever increasing number of officers from MD countries participate in courses, seminars and exercises, reaching the number of 781 military officers in 2006, thus contributing to promote interoperability between the armed forces of NATO and MD countries.

During today’s press conference at NATO Headquarters the Secretary General Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said: "The presence of these Ministers is, in itself, a strong signal of shared interests between MD partners and NATO, and of the ability to work together to tackle common challenges. Ministers agreed that our political dialogue and practical cooperation must go hand in hand. And we also had, today, a good political dialogue."

"In reviewing international issues, Ministers welcomed the outcome of the Annapolis conference, and they looked forward to the start of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Even if this is not a NATO issue, we all share a desire to see lasting peace in that region."