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NATO Opens Regional Center in Kuwait, Stresses Partnership with GCC | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Kuwait Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled at the opening of the first NATO-ICI Regional Centre in Kuwait on Tuesday. (@picture-alliance/abaca/J.Abdulkhaleg)

Kuwait- NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the need to boost security cooperation with Gulf States during the opening of the first North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Center in Kuwait on Tuesday.

Stoltenberg described the center as a nucleus for cooperation between NATO and the GCC, especially in the war against terrorism.

“It will be a vital hub for cooperation between the alliance and our Gulf partners,” he stated.

Senior diplomats and dignitaries attended the ceremony, including Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khaled, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdulatif Al Zayani, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa and the Chief of Kuwaiti Security Bureau Sheikh Thamer Ali Sabah.

Stoltenberg said that NATO and the ICI would work together to promote cooperation on strategic analysis, civil emergency planning, military-to-military cooperation, and public diplomacy.

He noted that strengthening partnership through the regional center was “vitally important to NATO”.

“The security of Gulf countries is directly linked to the security of all Allies. We face common security threats like terrorism, weapons proliferation, and cyber-attacks. And we share the same aspirations for peace and for stability. So it is essential that we work more closely together than ever before”, Stoltenberg stated.

The regional center would also provide advanced training courses on cyber security, energy security and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, the NATO chief added.

For his part, Kuwait’s foreign affairs minister warned that the region was facing serious challenges that require cooperation with international organizations.

He stressed the importance of bolstering cooperation with regional and international organizations to cope with the grave threats, mainly, the “scourge of terrorism”.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled noted that Kuwait joined the ICI back in 2004 and ties with NATO have since developed to include fields such as strategic analysis and disaster management.

Meanwhile, Al-Zayani said that the launching of the regional center was an important step in promoting cooperation between the NATO and GCC countries, especially in the wake of the situation in the region.