(With photos) BRUSSELS, Oct 15 (KUNA) -- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Spokesman James Appathurai said here Wednesday that a naval force of NATO is on its way to the Gulf region for joint military exercises with members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), including the State of Kuwait.
Appathurai said in a press conference that the second set of NATO naval forces, consisting of seven ships from the naval forces of six countries in NATO had crossed the Suez Canal to the Gulf region to conduct joint military exercises.
He added that the second set grouped Durand de la Penne (flagship, destroyer, Italy), Karlsruhe (frigate, Germany), Rhon (auxiliary, Germany), Themistokles (frigate, Greece), Gokova (frigate, Turkey), Cumberland (frigate, United Kingdom) and the Sullivans (destroyer, USA).
He said the second group, which will be led by Rear Admiral Giovanni Gumiero will conduct military exercises in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.
The State of Kuwait was the first Gulf country to sign an information sharing agreement and to join the ICI in line with specific frameworks in November 2004.
Kuwait also had signed a security agreement with the NATO on information exchange during an international conference on NATO-GCC cooperation in Kuwait on December 12-13, 2006.
The ICI was launched during NATO's June 2004 Istanbul summit. (end) tm.hb KUNA 152348 Oct 08NNNN