By Nawab Khan
BRUSSELS, Feb 11 (KUNA) -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday praised Kuwait's contribution to regional peace and security, saying NATO-ICI (Istanbul Cooperation Initiative) Centre in Kuwait has been a success.
"We highly value the partnership cooperation we have with countries in the Gulf region including Kuwait. The North Atlantic Council and I visited Kuwait in December and we met with the political leadership and had good discussions," he said in reply to a question by KUNA during a press conference at NATO headquarters ahead of a meeting of NATO defence ministers tomorrow.
"We actually had some of our meetings at the ICI-NATO regional centre in Kuwait which is an organization where we are working together how we can help and support each other," he added.
"The Centre is a great success helping to train, advise and teach the personnel from the region and this is a concrete example of wide partnership and cooperation in the region," he noted.
The NATO chief had inaugurated the Centre in Kuwait in 2017.
Elsewhere in the press conference, he said that over the next two days, NATO defence ministers will meet to address key issues for the Alliance, including what more NATO could do to build security and stability in the Middle East, support for Afghanistan, and the challenge posed by Russia's missile systems.
"Violence and instability in our southern neighbourhood have caused suffering in the region. Driving the refugee and migrant crisis. And also fuelled the threat of terrorism. That is why NATO Allies have been engaged for many years in the region, and built close partnerships," he said.
"The Global Coalition, NATO and our partners have made remarkable progress in the fight against ISIS. Millions of people have been liberated from oppression. And ISIS no longer controls any territory," said the NATO chief.
On Iraq, he said NATO fully respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, pointing out close consultation with the Iraqi government.
"Allies will also discuss tomorrow how NATO can coordinate with the Global Coalition even more closely. And will consider what more NATO can do in the wider region to build long-term stability and security. Training local forces is one of our best tools in the fight against terrorism," he said. (end) nk.mt