This was the first ever meeting at Ministerial level between NATO and Mediterranean countries and reflects their mutual desire to enhance the political and practical dimensions of the Mediterranean Dialogue.
Launched by the Foreign Ministers of the Alliance in December 1994, NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue has successfully contributed to achieving a better mutual understanding, building confidence and cooperation between NATO and its seven Mediterranean partners: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
“Against this backdrop, it was only logical to set the bar higher and farther,” said NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer at the opening of the meeting.
Deepening the dialogue
At the working dinner, the Ministers discussed the follow-up to the decisions adopted by NATO Heads of State and Government at the June Istanbul Summit. They agreed to take the next step: from Dialogue to real, practical partnership.
The expanded and broader framework for the Mediterranean Dialogue will be achieved through enhanced cooperation in a number of practical areas such as: combating terrorism via effective intelligence sharing and maritime cooperation including in the framework of Operation Active Endeavour; contributing to the Alliance's work on threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; promoting cooperation in areas where NATO can add value like, for example, in the field of border security.
“This is about finding practical ways of working together. Of sharing intelligence, of increasing the interoperability of our forces. Of the possibility for Mediterranean Dialogue partners of support Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean, if they so wish,” Mr. De Hoop Scheffer said during a press conference after the dinner.