NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

29 Jun. 2004

NATO elevates Mediterranean Dialogue to a genuine partnership, launches Istanbul Cooperation Initiative

Meeting in Istanbul, NATO leaders decided to elevate the Alliance's Mediterranean Dialogue to a genuine partnership and to launch the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with selected countries in the broader region of the Middle East.

NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue has successfully contributed to confidence-building and cooperation between NATO and its seven Mediterranean partners: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan. Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

The enhanced Mediterranean Dialogue will contribute to regional security and stability, by promoting greater practical cooperation, enhancing the Dialogue's political dimension, assisting in defence reform, cooperation in the field of border security, achieving interoperability and contributing to the fight against terrorism, while complementing other international efforts.

At the same time Alliance leaders decided to reach out to the broader region of the Middle East through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, by promoting practical bilateral cooperation with interested countries of the region, starting with countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

This Initiative aims at enhancing security and stability through a new transatlantic engagement, offering tailored advice on defence reform, defence budgeting, defence planning and civil-military relations, promoting military-to-military cooperation to contribute to interoperability, fighting terrorism through information sharing and maritime cooperation, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means and fighting illegal trafficking.

It is understood that the words "country" and "countries" in the documents do not exclude participation, subject to Council's approval, of the Palestinian Authority in cooperation under these initiatives.

The enhancement of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue and the launching of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative resulted from high-level consultations conducted by NATO's Deputy Secretary General with the countries of the Mediterranean and the broader region, according to the principle of 'joint ownership'. These are two complementary, progressive and individualised initiatives.