NATO Looking at Security in a Whole New Way, With Partners

QATAR–(ENEWSPF)–15 February 2011.  In a keynote address to a conference of Alliance and Gulf officials in Qatar today, the NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero proposed to look at security in a whole new way — by confronting new threats alongside partners, in a multi-dimensional approach.

He spoke at the fourth Ambassadorial Conference of NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, a partnership established in 2004 at the Istanbul Summit and bringing together 28 countries from Europe and North American with four countries from the Persian Gulf. Oman and Saudi Arabia attended the conference as observers.

Confronted with common threats of terrorism and piracy, cyber attacks and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or the disruption of energy flows, NATO and Gulf partners need to work more closely together. NATO’s security and that of Gulf partners are intertwined today more than ever, and the Deputy Secretary General proposed to reinvigorate the partnership along the lines of the new Strategic Concept agreed at the Lisbon Summit. This concept gives partners greater opportunities for consultation on security issues of common concern with NATO, as well as an expanded range of practical cooperation activities. For instance, he identified energy security, maritime security and the proliferation of missile technology and of weapons of mass destruction as areas where opportunities existed to consult and in certain cases cooperate more deliberately.

Ambassador Bisogniero added that NATO takes from its current experience in Afghanistan a deep conviction that stability requires a long-term commitment, in this case well after the Afghans take the lead for security over the next months and years. In this vein, he said, NATO hopes that the Gulf countries will be a part of that commitment and provide not only security assistance but also investment funds, development support and diplomatic avenues for political reconciliation.

This conference is co-organised by NATO and the State of Qatar.