Questions & Answers

NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue & Istanbul Cooperation Initiative

  • Last updated: 09 Feb. 2012 10:11

What is the difference between NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative?

  • NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue is a ten-year old forum for political consultations and practical cooperation, which includes a bilateral and a multilateral component and involves countries of the Mediterranean area.
  • The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative is a new initiative which is meant to promote essentially practical cooperation on a bilateral basis, with interested countries in the broader region of the Middle East.
  • ICI is opened to interested countries in the region which subscribe to the aim and content of this initiative, including the fight against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Each interested party, would be considered by the North Atlantic Council on a case-by-case basis and on its own merit.

Can a country of the broader region join the Mediterranean Dialogue or vice versa?

  • The two processes are individualised, but complementary. They serve the same purpose of building strong cooperatives ties with interested countries.
  • In principle, the Mediterranean Dialogue is open to countries in the Mediterranean area or directly involved in Mediterranean-related processes.
  • Mediterranean Dialogue countries could, in principle, join the ICI if they so wish. In terms of practical cooperation, however, this would not be very different from what is already offered within the MD framework.

How does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fit into NATO proposals?

  • We believe that progress towards a just, lasting, and comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should remain a priority for the countries of the region and the international community as a whole.
  • Our proposals are not intended to substitute for ongoing efforts dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What about NATO’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

  • NATO is not a party in the Middle East Peace Process. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an item currently on NATO's agenda. There has been a lot of talk about it outside NATO: in political and academic circles.
  • The Secretary General of NATO has mentioned three Big Ifs. If the parties involved came to an agreement and if they requested NATO to help them implement and if there were a UN Security Council Resolution, then NATO member countries would need to discuss it.

What about the Palestinian Authority?

  • In March 2005 the Allies decided to open exploratory information contacts, between NATO and the Palestinian Authority, noting that NATO's Heads of Government at their 2004 Istanbul Summit did not exclude future participation, subject to the North Atlantic Council's approval, of the PA in cooperation under the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.