Nato keen to reinforce cooperation with Arab states

December 9, 2011

The foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) have agreed to reinforce their contacts and cooperation with Arab countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

“Significant political developments have taken place this year in North Africa and the Middle East,” the 28-member alliance said. “Against this background and in accordance with our partnership policy, we have agreed to further deepen our political dialogue and practical cooperation with members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. We have agreed to further deepen our political dialogue and practical cooperation with members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,” Nato said in its final communique at the end of the meeting of the foreign ministers at its headquarters in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) was launched at the Alliance’s Summit in the Turkish city in June 2004 to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries practical bilateral security cooperation with Nato.

Kuwait joined the ICI in December 2004, followed by Bahrain and Qatar in February 2005 and the UAE in June 2005.

Arab countries in the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative launched in 1994 include Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.

Nato officials said that they think Libya was likely to request to join the Mediterranean Dialogue.

“Once the Libyans make the request, Nato will look into it and will make a decision based on its merit,” a senior Nato official who did not wish to be identified said.

In its communiqué, Nato said that it would work on promoting, on a case-by-case basis, its dialogue and cooperation with countries in the region interested in working with the alliance.

“We stand ready to consider, on a case-by-case basis, new requests from countries in these regions, including Libya, for partnership and cooperation with Nato, taking into account that the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative are natural frameworks for such requests.”

Nato’s activities would focus primarily on security and defence sector reform, while taking into account other international efforts, the communiqué said.

Nato took over on April 1 full command of the military intervention in Libya, launched by a US, France and UK-led multi-state coalition on March 17, to implement Security Council Resolution 1973.

The fighting stopped in late October following the death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Nato ended its operations on October 31, despite a request from the new Libyan authorities to extend it until December 31.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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