The 28 members of the North Atlantic Council and its partners of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative discussed common security challenges and ways for closer cooperation to deal with them during a conference on Thursday (11 December 2014) in Doha, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of this partnership.
“We want to build on our partnership,” the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during the conference in Doha, Qatar, in the presence of Ambassadors of NATO countries and the four Gulf partners of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates).
Mr Stoltenberg said that “the best way to tackle the security threats we face is to work together. The more we cooperate, the safer our shared neighbourhood will be.”
At the conference, the Secretary General set out three priority areas for increased cooperation between NATO and the Gulf region. First, Mr. Stoltenberg called for greater cooperation between military forces, raising the example of the Libya campaign as an example of NATO and Gulf partners working effectively side-by-side. Secondly, the Secretary General urged more cooperation on maritime security, and invited Gulf partners to join NATO’s “Ocean Shield” counter-piracy mission. Finally, Mr. Stoltenberg spoke of a need to deepen NATO’s political consultations, both with individual partners and with the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Secretary General called such consultations a “solid basis for our practical cooperation”.
The Secretary General held talks with the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to discuss shared security challenges, particularly the threat of violent extremism posed by the terrorist group ISIL. Mr. Stoltenberg said it was important for regional countries to play their part in the fight, and that NATO stands ready to assist its partners with defence capacity building. “We all have a role to play,” he said. The Secretary General and the Emir also discussed other challenges including piracy, human trafficking and weapons proliferation.
Mr. Stoltenberg also held separate meetings with Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Foreign Minister Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, and Defence Minister Major General Hamad bin Ali Al-Attiyah.
Reporter Section NATO