High level consultations on deeper partnerships in the Gulf region
NATO permanent representatives met senior officials from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the four countries which are part of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), at a seminar at NATO HQ on February 14 to discuss ways to deepen their partnership ahead of NATO's Chicago Summit in May.
Exactly one year since an ambassadorial seminar in Doha, this was an opportunity to review the significant achievements of the past year, such as the political and practical contribution of countries in the region to Operation Unified Protector to save lives in Libya, the support for the UN-mandated ISAF operation in Afghanistan and the development of closer consultative mechanisms following the adoption of NATO's new Strategic Concept at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.
The NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reaffirmed that the security of NATO and the security of the Mediterranean and the Middle East region are inextricably linked. NATO and ICI partners seek the same objectives -- peace, security and stability -- and face many of the same security challenges and threats. Allies and ICI partners discussed the situation in North Africa and the Middle East and security challenges in the region, including issues related to maritime security, energy security, and cyber security.