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Egypt hails NATO-Mediterranean meeting as "good opportunity"

CAIRO, Dec 5 (KUNA) -- The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday stressed the importance of a planned ministerial meeting between the NATO and Mediterranean Dialogue foreign ministers in Brussels.
The ministry hailed the meeting as a "good opportunity" for Egypt to present its vision on several issues of mutual interest.
Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit's visit to Brussels to attend the meeting on Thursday will come in line with the NATO's plan to broaden its activities with the Mediterranean Dialogue member countries by putting forward several initiatives and thoughts to develop dialogue between both sides.
Egypt is closely monitoring such initiatives in order to choose ones its sees suitable to its priorities, the ministry said.
In this context, he pointed to the organization of several activities and courses in the field of fighting international terrorism, removing landmines and search and rescue operations.
The Egyptian foreign minister' visit to Brussels will also allow him to voice Egypt's positions on the overall situation in the Middle East region, outcomes of the Annapolis meeting, Iraq and Sudan's Darfur, it added.
NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue was initiated in 1994 by the North Atlantic Council (2004 thus marked the Dialogue's 10th anniversary). It currently involves seven non-NATO countries of the Mediterranean region: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. The Dialogue reflects the Alliance's view that security in Europe is closely linked to security and stability in the Mediterranean. It is an integral part of NATO's adaptation to the post-Cold War security environment, as well as an important component of the Alliance's policy of outreach and cooperation.
But, in 2004, the NATO launched another initiative called Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), which was initiated during NATO's 2004 Istanbul summit.
During this summit, NATO leaders decided to elevate the Alliance's Mediterranean Dialogue to a genuine partnership and to launch the ICI with selected countries in the broader region of the Middle East. The initiative is an offer to engage in practical security cooperation activities with states throughout the Greater Middle East. This new initiative stands alongside NATO's Partnership for Peace Program and the Mediterranean Dialogue. (end) rg.mt KUNA 051634 Dec 07NNNN