NATO leaders underlined Saturday the strategic importance of the Arab Gulf countries and said they look forward for closer cooperation between the 28-member Alliance and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
"Bearing in mind the strategic importance of the Gulf region, we look forward to the establishment of regular working-level ties between the international secretariats of NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and to the launch of practical cooperation with the GCC as well as with its member states," said the NATO Warsaw Communique released after the end of the 2-day summit.
It said that "Increased information exchange (between NATO and GCC) to promote a better mutual understanding of our functions and policies would be a solid basis for more regular political dialogue and possible practical cooperation regarding our shared security challenges.
The NATO leaders tasked the NATO ambassadors to report on progress on NATO-GCC ties to NATO Foreign Ministers at their December meeting. The Communique stressed that "ISIL/DaØ¢â€™esh poses a grave threat to the wider Middle East and North Africa region and to our own nations." "In response, all NATO Allies and many NATO partners are contributing to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. Thanks to that determined action, the Global Coalition campaign has made considerable progress. ISIL/DAESH is losing territory, control of strategic supply routes and resources, as well as its leaders, fighters, and followers," it said.
The NATO leaders said they recognise that an effective and enduring fight against ISIL/DAESH in Syria "will only be possible with a legitimate government in place, and stressed the need for an immediate and genuine political transition in Syria.
The NATO leaders condemned in "the strongest terms the unabated and indiscriminate campaign of bombardment, including the use of incendiary weapons, and violence by the Assad regime and its supporters deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure." They also condemned indiscriminate violence against civilians, in particular by ISIL/DAESH, the Al Nusra Front, and other groups designated as terrorist organisations by the UN.
The Communique warned that "the continuing crises and instability across the Middle East and North Africa region, in particular in Syria, Iraq and Libya, as well as the threat of terrorism and violent extremism across the region and beyond, demonstrate that the security of the region has direct implications for the security of NATO." It stressed that NATO's partnerships are, and will continue to be, essential to the way NATO works.
"We will continue to develop our partnership with countries of the Middle East and North Africa region through deeper political dialogue and enhanced practical cooperation. The Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) remain complementary and yet distinct partnership frameworks. We remain open to welcoming new members in both partnership frameworks," it said.
"Regular political consultations improve our mutual understanding and our situational awareness. We will continue to enhance practical cooperation, including through further support in the areas of counter-terrorism, small arms and light weapons, counter-improvised explosive devices, and military border security," said the 139-point communique.
The ICI includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.
It said that "Russia's recent activities and policies have reduced stability and security, increased unpredictability, and changed the security environment," but added that a partnership between NATO and Russia, based on respect for international law and commitments, would be of strategic value.