Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gates sets priorities for US in the Gulf

As incoming Secretary of Defense under Obama's Administration, Dr. Robert M. Gates has delivered a speech at the IISS Regional Conference on Gulf Security, the so called Manama Dialogue.

The meeting was attended by delegations from 24 regional and world power, including US, China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Germany.

Mr. Gates touched upon some of the most relevant international security topics and he certainly set the agenda for the incoming months.

Iraq is on its way to stabilization and reconstruction and its entire political leadership appears to be committed in reaching this goal. Inclusion of Iraq within regional organizations - such as the Gulf Cooperation Council - will contribute to greater stability, according to Mr. Gates. Economic growth and prosperity will be fundamental to continue on this path.

Iran, instead, has been a stumbling block toward regional stability. Its nuclear and ballistics programme represent a threat to security for other countries in the region and a greater compliance by the International Community with UN Security Council resolution is required to stop the process.

Winning the war in Afghanistan is needed to stop terrorists movements that have originated in the country anf have spread in the region. The extensive economic pledges made by Gulf Countries in the recent Paris Donor Conference testify a common approach towards Afghanistan.

Regional Cooperation shall be expanded, Mr. Gates said, including political, economic, militar and social cooperation. The Gulf Cooperation Council, formed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Baharein and United Arab Emirates in 198 has grown and has become a vital forum for dialogue and cooperation in the region, and should be further expandend, in order to properly deal with the XXI Century security threats. Some are ancient, such as piracy, ethnic strife, and poverty. Others are of more recent vintage: terrorist networks harnessing new technologies, weapons proliferation, environmental degradation, and the emergence of deadly and contagious diseases that can spread more rapidly than ever before in human history. Multilateral efforts like these are encouraging, Mr Gates said.

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