Kuwait and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) signed on Monday a “Transit Agreement” to promote partnership and cooperation between the two parties. The agreement was signed by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
In a joint press conference, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled stressed that the agreement is considered “another cornerstone that builds on an existing partnership between the two sides.” He added that the agreement will strengthen Kuwait’s capabilities on facing security challenges in the region.
On his part, Stoltenberg pointed out that the agreement will make NATO work more active and effective in the region. The agreement, NATO’s first in the Gulf region, will facilitate the transit of personnel, supplies and equipment to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
It will also make any future NATO activity in the region much more effective. Stoltenberg said on Monday it is essential to work together to find common solutions to joint challenges the NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative members are facing. Speaking at a joint press conference with First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al- Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, he said the security of Kuwait and other members is of strategic significance to the NATO.
He added that Middle East countries are facing a set of issues like terrorism, extremism and proliferation of technologies of ballistic weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Stoltenberg appreciated Kuwait’s leading role in the promotion of security and stability in the region through its cooperation with the NATO in the fight against terrorism, as well as its humanitarian role in the alleviation of refugees’ sufferings.
The NATO chief hailed Kuwait as a “strong partner to the NATO”, pointing to its leading and basic role in the promotion of regional security and stability, and in the fi ght against the so-called Islamic State (IS). He added that Kuwait has a long history of distinguished partnerships with the NATO, hailing its strategic position in the Gulf region. He went on to say that Kuwait is an “ideal partner” to the NATO in fighting common security challenges, including the IS.
He said he was so happy to visit Kuwait for the fi rst time as NATO Secretary- General, noting that he will visit the first regional center of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative later today. He pointed out that once completed the center would be a central point for cooperation between Kuwait and NATO and other members. On Syria’s truce, he said the NATO was aware of some encouraging developments towards commitment to the ceasefire in spite of violation reports.
The NATO chief voiced concern over the impacts of Russian airstrikes in Syria, which said do not only target the IS but opposition forces as well. The UN Security Council late on Friday adopted unanimously Resolution 2268 endorsing US-Russian joint statement on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria. The resolution was drafted by both International Syrian Support Group (ISSG) co-chairs Russia and the US. There have been some reports on violations of the ceasefire from Russian and Syrian regime aircraft by targeting civilians and moderate opposition groups.
On his part, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah voiced pleasure for Kuwait to host the regional center of the NATO’s Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. He said the center would play a key role in the fulfillment of the initiative’s goals through the promotion of cooperation between the members of the NATO and the initiative in the fields of strategic analysis, military cooperation, civil emergency, public diplomacy and people’s awareness.
He pointed to the center’s role in following up the individual cooperation program and the transit agreement between Kuwait and the NATO, hoping that it would be opened in the last quarter of this year.