Nato talks in Kuwait revolve around Iran, Iraq, Palestine


In Kuwait, the Nato parliamentarians yesterday met with Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah, National Assembly Chairman Jassem Al-Khorafi, and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the National Assembly Mohammed Al-Saqer and the Deputy Chairman of the National Security Agency Sheikh Thamer Ali Al-Sabah.

The delegation, which was led by Lello of Portugal, discussed security in the Gulf and the Middle East, relations between Gulf countries and Nato, as well as social and economic development in the region.

Lello explained that the talks held in Kuwait focused on three core topics: the security situation in Iraq, the Iran issue and Palestine. Evaluating the visit to Kuwait, he said, "We hope the dialogue that we start now will be fruitful for the benefit of both parts — for Kuwait and also for the Nato countries."

The Nato PA, the inter-parliamentary organisation consisting of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance and associate members, Lello observed, is mainly a political organisation that generates political "orientation and action." "Nato PA generates mainly dialogue," he added.

Lello also explained that Kuwait joined the Nato’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), which was launched in 2004. "This cooperation is important," he said adding that Kuwait was the first Gulf country to join the ICI in December 2004. ICI aims to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering countries of the broader Middle East region practical bilateral security cooperation with Nato.

ICI focuses on practical cooperation in areas where Nato can add value, notably in the security field, starting with the individual members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, which are ICI participants, and Saudi Arabia and Oman.

The GSM provides a forum for parliamentarians from Nato countries and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to discuss political and security issues and to enhance co-operation. As one of the first institutions to engage with the region, the Nato PA started a dialogue with MENA countries in the early 1990s. As a formal mechanism to address regional challenges, the GSM was launched in 1996.

Prior to Kuwait, the Nato parliamentarians paid a visit to Bahrain where they met with their counterparts. In Bahrain, meetings were also hosted by Shura Council Chairman, Ali Bin Saleh Al-Saleh and Council of Representatives’ Chairman, Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Dhahrani.


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