Robin Michelle Barnett 2013.05.02

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  Deputy Commander Visits Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates - ACT Written by Robin Michelle Barnett, Staff WriterThursday, 02 May 2013 05:53 General Mieczyslaw Bieniek, Deputy Commander of NATO's Allied Command Transformation(DSACT) visited Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 17-21 April 2013. The three countries are part of NATO's Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). Launched at theAlliance's Summit in June 2004, the ICI aims to offer Middle Eastern countries practical,bilateral security cooperation with NATO. The ICI focuses on practical cooperation in areaswhere NATO can add value such as security. General Bieniek's April visit sought to improve practical military relations with partners in theregion, develop greater ties with individual ICI countries and their Armed Forces, discuss AlliedCommand Transformation support, promote partnership engagement and express appreciationfor active contributions to NATO-led operations. During his visit, Bieniek met with the Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, Field Marshal ShaikhKhalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa; Chief of the Kuwait Defense Force, General Sheik Khaled JarraAl-Sabah; and the Deputy Chief of the UAE Defense Force, Major General Issa SaifMohammed Al-Mazroei. DSACT also visited the Mubarak Al-Abdullah Joint Command and StaffCollege in Kuwait and presented a lecture on NATO's Prospect and Partners Role  .  1 / 2  Deputy Commander Visits Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates - ACT Written by Robin Michelle Barnett, Staff WriterThursday, 02 May 2013 05:53 Meeting first with Bahrain's Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, General Bieniekdiscussed enhancing joint military cooperation. DSACT invited Bahrain to participate in ACTevents, which will enhance the level of NATO-related expertise in the Bahrain Armed Forces.He also encouraged Bahrain to develop the Individual Partnerships Cooperation Programme(IPCP), an entry level programme available to all partners.  Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa praised the Bahrain-NATO relations, affirming the need toconsolidate bilateral cooperation and for further coordination in order to achieve common goalsand promote security and stability across the region . In Kuwait, DSACT discussed the ICI Regional Centre (ICI RC), an effort Kuwait offered to hostand fund. The ICI RC was welcomed through the Chicago Summit Declaration; once complete,the Centre will include a NATO detachment. General Sheik Khaled Jarra Al-Sabah echoed DSACT's sentiment stating the approach waspromising and further expressed appreciation on behalf of Kuwait. The General praised theKuwait-NATO relations, underlining the need for strengthening bilateral military cooperation inorder to promote security and stability across the Gulf region.     UAE's Major General Issa Saif Mohammed Al-Mazroei presented General Bieniek with asummary of current issues facing the UAE Armed Forces and security threats in the Gulf region.Al-Mazroei stressed the importance of NATO connectivity to the UAE to leverage NATO'slessons learned and plan together for emerging security challenges. He further iterated that theUAE is working to be a good example in the region .  According to DSACT, NATO has a keen interest in the security and stability of the Gulf regionand desires to develop stronger ties with individual countries of the region and the GulfCooperation Council (GCC).  Regarding ICI, he explained that the cooperation framework between NATO and ICI countries issustainable and should be encouraged. According to discussions that took place, all threecountries seek to enhance respective security requirements. Examples of such security needsinclude the protection of oil and gas shipments at sea, securing lines of communication throughthe Strait of Hormuz (the same lines that bring energy resources to NATO countries), cyberdefence, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and providingeducation and training.     While the ICI is a two-way street initiative based on joint ownership, it is vital for NATO toengage in a dialogue in which partners can assess and express their needs to better streamlinethe cooperation effort , DSACT said. Before departing General Bieniek expressed his views on future information sharing as a stepforward toward enhanced collaboration and a more proactive and profound cooperation. Healso re-affirmed that ICI nations' interaction and demand has increased over past years. Furtherstating, The positive and rapid involvement in Operation Unified Protector (OUP) and ISAF isdirectly related to enhanced military cooperation. 2 / 2
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