Sunday, November 1, 2009

NATO-UAE Relations and the Way Forward in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative

NATO and United Arab Emirates has signed an agreement on security of information on the 29th of October.

On this occasion, a North Atlantic Council Session was set up at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, along with a Press Conference on NATO-UAE Relations and the Way Forward in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

NATO Secretary General, Mr, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, addressed the Conference audience composed by the UAE Ministry of Foreing Affairs, Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the NATO Deputy Secreaty General, the Chairman of the Military Committee and the 28 North Atlantic Council Permanente Representatives - among the others.

NATO Secreary General highlights importance of NATO’s dialogue and cooperation with the countries of the Gulf region, since "same risks and threats increasingly affect the security of all our nations -- extremism, terrorism, trans-national crime, and the most dangerous terrorists getting their hands on the most dangerous weapons".

According to NATO Secretary General, the guiding principle of the NATO-UAE relations, as much as with the other countries of the ICI, should be mutual respect, two way commitment and complementary with other international organization initiatives.

In Rasmussen speech the words " practical cooperation" have been often repeated, thus signaling NATO deside to move beyond the current level of cooperation and bring small and concrete issue of the ground. Following the signature of an Agreement of Security and Protection of Classified Information, indeed, the Secretary General affirmed that "we have also been discussing the possible conclusion of an Individual Cooperation Programme".
During his speech, Mr. Rasmussen recall the assistance that UAE troops gave to NATO mission in the Balkans and Afghanistan as well as "the shared interest in preventing countries like Somalia and Sudan from slipping deeper into chaos."
Finally, NATO Secretary General underlined that "establishing new patterns of security cooperation across age-old geographical, cultural and religious boundaries will take persistence as well as patience", but they will "be hampered by a lack of real progress in the Middle East peace process".

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