NATO-Saudi Arabia Conference in Riyadh
On 21 January 2007, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the Diplomatic Institute of the Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai based Gulf Research Center co-sponsored in Riyadh the “NATO and the GCC Countries Symposium. Cooperation Within the Framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative”.
The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia H.R.H. Prince Saud Al-Faisal delivered the opening address of the symposium and the Deputy Secretary General of NATO delivered the keynote address of the symposium.
Discussion at the conference focussed on the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and the regional security situation. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes in the importance of fighting terrorism and extremism and spreading the values of tolerance and moderation as well as combating racial ideologies” said Prince Saud.
“We share a number of common challenges – how to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, how to counter extremism … how to deal with the destabilising effects of failed states” said Ambassador Minuto Rizzo. “I do want to stress here today that NATO would very much value the participation of Saudi Arabia in the ICI. Saudi Arabia is a key country in this region. Its potential and its traditional role in promoting peace and stability in the region make it a major player in the Gulf area and beyond”.
Participants included academics, elected and government officials, as well as members of the armed forces from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries belonging to the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. The symposium was closed by the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy H.E. Mr. Jean Fournet.