NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed closer cooperation between the Alliance and Kuwait during his first official visit to Kuwait on 29 February 2016. Speaking at the site of the future NATO-Kuwait Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre, Mr. Stoltenberg praised Kuwait’s commitment and vision in bringing NATO closer to the Gulf region. As the Alliance’s first presence in the Gulf, the NATO-ICI Regional Centre will be a hub for NATO’s practical cooperation with Kuwait and other ICI partners, as well as Saudi Arabia and Oman.
“Today, we are taking our partnership to the next level” said the Secretary General. The NATO-ICI Centre will foster cooperation between NATO and Gulf partners in a number of areas, including strategic analysis, civil emergency planning, military-to-military cooperation and public diplomacy. It will also serve as a link between NATO and the Gulf region, to share expertise and improve understanding.
During his visit, Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that the security of the Gulf region is directly linked to the security of the Alliance. He praised Kuwait’s active role in promoting regional stability and supporting the international coalition’s fight against ISIL. The Secretary General also commended Kuwait’s leadership in responding to humanitarian emergencies, such as the Syrian refugee crisis. “In a dangerous world, NATO and Kuwait share the same objective: to safeguard peace. So it is important that we cooperate even more closely in the years ahead,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
As part of NATO’s deepening cooperation with Kuwait, the Secretary General signed a NATO-Kuwait Transit Agreement with First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah. This agreement, NATO’s first in the Gulf region, allows the movement of NATO personnel and military equipment through Kuwait. This will enable improved logistical support for NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and for other missions in the future, contributing to international security.
While in Kuwait, the Secretary General also met with the Emir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister, His Excellency Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and the President of the Kuwait National Security Bureau, His Excellency Sheikh Thamer Ali Al-Sabah.
L. J. De Rothschild