|Updated: 28-Jan-2008||NATO Update|
NATO Public Diplomacy conference discusses the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative
Discussions focussed on NATO´s role in Gulf security and transatlantic interests in the region, as well as views from Gulf Cooperation Council member countries on the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. The last session, on NATO and the Future of the Arab World, examined NATO´s contribution to security sector reform and political change in the Middle East.
"In each of the five Mediterranean Dialogue countries that I have already visited, I have seen considerable interest in working together with the Alliance. And that interest has already translated in enhanced political dialogue as well as greater practical cooperation in areas such as the fight against terrorism or defence reform," NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in his keynote speech.
Ms. Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of the Stimson Center, and Mr. Nicola de Santis, Head of Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Countries Section in NATO´s Public Diplomacy Division, opened the conference before a panel with Col. Patrick Lang and Amb. Larry Pope, former Political Advisor to US Central Command, discussed NATO´s Role in Gulf Security and US Interests.
Views from the Gulf region were conveyed by Abdullah Shayji from the University of Kuwait, Nawaf Obeid from Saudi Arabia´s National Security Project, Prof. Ebtisam Suhail Al-Kitbi from the United Arab Emirates University, and Vice Air Marshall Mohamed Mahfoudh Al-Ardhi from Oman´s Air Force.
Other distinguished speakers included NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Mr. Jean Fournet, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Mr. Scott Carpenter, former US Ambassador to NATO, Mr. Robert Hunter, Mr. Michael Kraig from the Stanley Foundation, and Mr. John Duke Anthony from the National Council on US-Arab Relations.
Launched at the 2004 NATO Summit in Istanbul, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative aims to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering countries of the broader Middle East region practical bilateral security cooperation with NATO.