From NATO: When I took office in August, I announced that the development of stronger ties between NATO and its partners in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions would be one of my key priorities. I have, over the past three months, held consultations with each of the Ambassadors from these eleven partner countries back in Brussels…

During my term in office, I am determined not only to maintain such an active dialogue, but to further intensify it.

Why do I believe such strong engagement is important? Simply put, because the security of the countries here in the Gulf region, as well as in the Mediterranean, matters a great deal to NATO. And similarly, I believe that the Alliance matters a great deal to your security as well.

Excerpts from keynote address by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative conference in Abu Dhabi. (photo: NATO)