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NATO affirms commitment to strengthening ties with GCC countries


The heads of state and government of the 29 member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), participating in the NATO Council meeting in Brussels on July 11-12, affirmed their commitment to strengthening ties with the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

"The NATO-ICI Regional Centre in Kuwait allows us to work more closely with partners in the Gulf region to enhance regional security and counter shared threats," said the Brussels Summit Declaration released on Wednesday. "We are also working to further develop our relations with the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council," it underlined.

"We are committed to building a stronger and more dynamic relationship with our Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) partners, including to help them modernize their defense and security institutions," the Declaration said.

The ICI was launched by NATO in 2004 to enhance cooperation with the Gulf countries. It includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. The Kuwait NATO-ICI Centre was opened in January 2017.

The EU leaders expressed concern "by Iran's intensified missile tests and the range and precision of its ballistic missiles and by Iran's destabilizing activities in the wider Middle East region".

"We are committed to permanently ensuring that Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful, in line with its international obligations and commitments to never seek, develop, or acquire a nuclear weapon. We underscore the importance for Iran to continue to fully cooperate in a timely manner with the IAEA," said the Declaration.

"We condemn all financial support of terrorism, including Iran's support to a variety of armed non-state actors. We also call upon Iran to play a constructive role by contributing to efforts to counter terrorism and achieve political solutions, reconciliation and peace in the region," it added.

The Declaration also said that Syria has a significant inventory of short-range ballistic missiles whose range covers part of NATO's territory and some of our partners' territories, pointing out that Syria has used these missiles extensively against its own population.

Source: International Islamic News Agency