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NATO marks closer ties with Gulf partners, opens new centre in Kuwait

NATO marks closer ties with Gulf partners, opens new centre in Kuwait

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg led the North Atlantic Council in celebrating the opening of the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre on Tuesday (24 January 2017). During an inauguration ceremony in Kuwait, the Secretary General highlighted the Centre’s potential in strengthening the partnership between NATO and Gulf partners, including in the important fight against terrorism.

The Secretary General thanked Kuwait for hosting the Centre and for its long-standing leadership in promoting regional security. As NATO’s first presence in the Gulf region, the NATO-ICI Regional Centre will be a vital hub for practical cooperation in a range of areas, including strategic analysis, civil emergence planning, military-to-military cooperation and public diplomacy. “The partnerships we will strengthen through this Centre are vitally important to NATO, because the security of Gulf countries is directly linked to the security of all Allies,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.

Following the ceremony, the 28 members of the North Atlantic Council and its partners of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative met to discuss common security challenges. They were joined by Oman and the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council. In his opening remarks, Mr. Stoltenberg stressed NATO’s commitment to working with partners in the Gulf region to enhance regional security and to counter shared threats, such as terrorism and extremism.

In Kuwait, the Secretary General met with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and the President of the Kuwait National Security Bureau, Sheikh Thamer Ali Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. Today, he also met with Bahrain's foreign minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa and the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani.