EU seeks to boost anti-terror cooperation with GCC states
NATO to align with Gulf
BRUSSELS, June 19, (KUNA): The European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg Monday discussed the fight against terrorism and called for strengthening anti-terrorism cooperation with the Arab world.
The Council in a statement called for strengthened cooperation with the Middle-East and North Africa, Western Balkans, Turkey, Sahel and the Horn of Africa, through enhanced political dialogue, more counter-terrorism projects and financial support for counter-terrorism and countering and preventing violent extremism.
“Cooperation with regional organisations like the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remains key,” it stressed.
The statement underlined that EU support for immediate as well as long term stabilization of legitimate and inclusive political structures in post-IS period in Iraq and in Syria.
It will also be crucial to step up work to deny IS and other terrorist organisations new safe havens, it noted.
The Council welcomed the decision by NATO to enhance the Alliance’s contribution to countering global terrorism through its support for the Global Coalition against DAESH, of which the EU is also a partner.
It also stressed the importance of joint and effective efforts on countering the illicit trafficking of arms and the movements of foreign fighters as well as countering extremist ideological influences in the Western Balkans.
In a separate statement, the EU welcomed the initiative of the Heads of State of the G5 Sahel on the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
The EU has been the first to announce a financial contribution, with 50 million euro ($ 55 mn) as planned support to this initiative.
The Council also adopted conclusions on Mali and the Sahel recalling its strong integrated approach towards achieving stabilisation of the region. This approach includes full range of relevant instruments in the field of diplomacy, long-term development cooperation, support to human rights, stabilisation efforts, humanitarian assistance, migration management and security.
In another statement, the Council said that “as close neighbours, Europe and Africa share a common future and 2017 is an important year for their partnership.” The EU institutions look forward to working closely with African partners towards an ambitious and successful 5th Summit in Abidjan on Nov 29 and 30, 2017 it noted.
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini presented the EU’s global strategy to the Council.
“If one year ago, many predicted the ‘inevitable’ decline of the European Union”, it is now clear that “the Global Strategy has served as a springboard to relaunch the process of European integration after the British referendum to exit the EU,” she said.
“We have shown to our partners that the EU will continue to be a reliable global power and a strong security provider”, said the EU foreign policy chief.
Further, the Council agreed to develop a framework for a joint EU diplomatic response to malicious cyber activities, the cyber diplomacy toolbox.
Moreover, the Council “deeply regretted” the unilateral decision by the United States Administration to withdraw from the Paris climate Agreement and welcomed the numerous strong statements of commitment to the Paris Agreement from countries ranging from major economies to small island states.
The Council adopted conclusions on the EU strategy for the Central Asia region. It emphasised that Central Asian countries have become significant partners of the EU and welcomed the progress achieved under partnerships with the EU.
Meanwhile, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said Monday that the 29-member Alliance is “working very much with our partners in the Gulf.”
“We had the opportunity to open a new training centre in Kuwait just in January and we still see real opportunities there to see defence institution building, defence capacity building, working on important practical measures such as cleaning up unexploded ordinance, improvised explosive devices,” she told reporters ahead of a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg today.
“Those are very practical areas. But also helping to build defence institutions. So this is a great opportunity and we will continue to do everything we can to build and develop our cooperation with our partners in the Gulf,” she said.
The NATO deputy chief said that “we are doing everything we can in order to facilitate cooperation in the area, but NATOs main focus and efforts are related to defence capacity building and really working with our partners to look for ways to improve their institutions and their overall training.” Gottemoeller added that she will discuss at length EU-NATO cooperation in the meeting with NATO foreign ministers, especially in defence matters.
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini