NATO and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) expressed their determination to enhance cooperation in addressing common security challenges, during an official visit by the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Abu Dhabi. During talks with his counterparts, Mr Stoltenberg strongly welcomed the United Arab Emirate’s support to NATO-led operations around the world.
Meeting with Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, he praised the Emirates’ contributions to NATO-led missions in Bosnia, Libya and Afghanistan. The Alliance's Secretary General said that the UAE is one of NATO’s most active and valuable partners in the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and noted that the practical cooperation developed together helps project security and stability abroad.
The Secretary General highlighted the UAE’s strong partnership with NATO and avenues for further cooperation. In 2012, the UAE became the first and only country in the Middle East or North Africa to open a mission to NATO. The UAE has held joint consultations and exercises with NATO in numerous areas, including maritime security, counter-piracy, proliferation and energy security. Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that there is scope for more participation by the UAE in NATO exercises and interoperability programmes, as well as further joint work on defence capacity building and civil emergency planning.
While in the UAE, the Secretary General also met with the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi Al Falasi, and with the UAE’s National Security Advisor, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
In his bilateral meetings, Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that the security of the Gulf region is linked to NATO’s security. Both NATO and the UAE face a volatile security situation and forces, such as ISIL, that seek to overturn the rules-based international order. These security challenges, the Secretary General said, make closer cooperation valuable. He added that NATO and the UAE share the same aspirations for peace and stability in the Gulf region and beyond.
During his official stay in Abu Dhabi, the Secretary General also visited the Joint Operation Centre to the French Naval base in the UAE. He met with the Commander of the Maritime Area of the Indian Ocean, Rear Admiral Antoine Beaussant.