Future Of NATO-Gulf Relations Discussed In Kuwait

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As part of the resumption of events at the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Regional Centre in Kuwait (NIRC), a “NATO talk” was held on Monday (13 May 2024) to address the future of NATO relations in the region. “Twenty years of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative: What is the way forward for NATO-Gulf relations?” covered the importance of NATO partnerships and the changing security environment in the region. 

The NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, Ambassador Boris Ruge – who was on an official visit to Kuwait – participated in the discussion, along with Dr Bader Al-Saif, Assistant Professor of History at Kuwait University.  Ambassador Ruge said that security in the Gulf region matters for the security of NATO and he highlighted the work of the independent group of experts appointed by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, to support NATO’s reflection on its southern neighbourhood.  Its report contains several recommendations to shape NATO’s approach in areas including the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel. 

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) was launched in 2004 and provides a partnership forum to promote security cooperation between NATO and partner countries in the Gulf region. Four countries, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have joined the initiative, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The NIRC opened in 2017 and is focussed on strengthening political dialogue, education and training, and public diplomacy.

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