WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium on July 9, 2024 in Washington, DC. - AFP
WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a NATO 75th anniversary celebratory event at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium on July 9, 2024 in Washington, DC. - AFP

Kuwait strengthens relations with NATO

WASHINGTON: Kuwait Foreign Minister Abdullah Al-Yahya emphasized on Wednesday Kuwait’s commitment to strengthening cooperation with NATO countries in all fields, especially in security. This came in a statement to KUNA before Minister Abdullah Al-Yahya’s participation in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of NATO, held on the sidelines of the NATO summit hosted by Washington over three days.

Al-Yahya stated that Kuwait’s presence was a testament to Kuwait’s keenness to participate in the celebration of NATO’s founding, in response to an invitation from the US President, Joe Biden. He also praised the relations between Kuwait and NATO since Kuwait became the first member of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) in June 2004 and the bilateral cooperation in security and information exchange through Kuwait hosting the NATO-ICI Regional Center.

Al-Yahya said that Kuwait continues to enhance cooperation with NATO through the exchange of information, expertise, and joint training between NATO representatives and Kuwait security institutions. The minister added that a celebration would be held during the visit of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to New York next September to mark the 29th anniversary of Kuwait acquiring the status of strategic ally outside NATO on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The relations between Kuwait and NATO have witnessed continuous development and cooperation. In 2006, Kuwait hosted the NATO meeting under the title “NATO and Gulf Countries: Facing Common Challenges Through the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative” as the first non-member country to do so. In 2012, Kuwait proposed hosting and operating the ICI Regional Center in Kuwait during the NATO council meeting in Brussels, which was welcomed by the NATO summit in Chicago, US.

In 2014, Kuwait joined the individual partnership and cooperation program and subsequently hosted a meeting of NATO’s political advisory group in 2015 and 2018 and a NATO Council meeting for the 15th anniversary of the ICI in December 2019. In 2016, Kuwait and NATO signed the Military Transit Agreement, and in January 2017, the NATO-ICI Regional Center was inaugurated in Kuwait.

Gaza massacres

Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that he will raise the issue of massacres of Palestinians in Gaza in the upcoming NATO leaders summit, set to be held in Washington. This came in a press conference that was held in Ankara, ahead of his departure for Washington to attend the summit in the US capital on July 9-11, according to Anadolu Agency. Erdogan added, “We patiently follow the process (Gaza cease-fire talks in Doha),” hoping to expect seeing results soon, while also emphasizing the international community’s failure to stop the occupation.

He stated that the global conscience will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief until a just and lasting peace is established in Palestine, adding that he will continue discussing Ankara’s assessments during bilateral meetings with the leaders of the allied countries. Erdogan said they will hold consultations at the summit to boost NATO’s deterrence and defense structure and to strengthen the capabilities and capabilities of the allies, and will follow up on the decisions made in last year’s summit in Vilnius.

“Our expectation from the summit is to achieve results that take into account the national security sensitivities of the allies and strengthen the alliance solidarity and the spirit of unity,” noted Erdogan. He stressed that implementing the decision taken at the Vilnius 2023 summit against terrorism and removing barriers to defense industry trade between the allies is important in this respect, adding that he will draw attention to the increasing terrorist threat around Turkey and the world.

On the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Erdogan affirmed Turkey’s commitment to and support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence, maintaining the principled stance that NATO should not be made a party in this operation. “To this end, we have shouldered responsibility from the very beginning, starting with the Istanbul process, to first secure a cease-fire and then to pave the way to a lasting peace. Every day of gunfire, bloodshed, and loss of life shows that we are on the right track,” he added.

In a related context, Erdogan criticized Turkey’s allies within NATO for not providing sufficient support to his country in the fight against terrorism, as well as in regard to the Palestinian issue. He explained that the Turkish Foreign and Defense Ministers will hold discussions in this context on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, adding, “We will issue warnings to them during these meetings.” The current summit falls on the 75th anniversary of NATO’s establishment. — KUNA

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