(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has stressed the importance of partnership with the United Arab Emirates under the "Istanbul Cooperation Initiative " and the latter's cooperation with the International Security Assistant Force operating in Afghanistan.
Nicola De Santis, Nato Public Diplomacy Division Coordinator, expressed the alliance's appreciation for the UAE and its political leadership for their fruitful cooperation.
In a statement to Emirates News Agency (Wam) on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Chicago, he said the UAE is one of the main Nato partners in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and "we are continually communicating with them in respect of the situation in Afghanistan and the peace process in the Middle East".
"For the time being, we are focused on moving forward in cooperation with the UAE within the framework of the Istanbul Initiative to promote mutual understanding between the UAE and the Nato and the rest of the participating countries of the ICI," he said.
On his part, General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the Nato Military Committee, said, "The future challenges of terrorism, ballistic missiles and electronic warfare requires a defensive device that will dictate collective cooperation not only through Nato alone, but also across all partners in the Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative."
He stressed that the security of the Gulf is as much crucial to the bloc as for other countries, since regional stability has the same importance to all Nato nations. Italian Minister of Defence Giampaolo Di Paola also hailed the UAE's positive role within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, which also includes Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. He also commended its significant role and contribution in helping the construction and stability operations in Afghanistan.
"The UAE is a role model in supporting security and stability in many parts of the world" he added.