Cooperation between Israel and NATO in defense and diplomatic matters will be boosted

 NATO ratifies ICP agreement with Israel


FM Livni with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at ministerial meeting in Brussels (Photo: NATO)

(Communicated by the Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

With the arrival of Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni to the NATO Ministerial Meeting, the NATO council ratified the Individual Cooperation Programme (ICP), an agreement that strengthens and expands the working relations between Israel and NATO in the fields of security and diplomacy.

The ICP encompasses a broad range of fields in which Israel and NATO will cooperate fully. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in effect opening the door for cooperation of Israel’s security services and NATO in various fields such as counterterrorism, including the exchange of intelligence and security expertise, increasing the number of joint NATO-Israel military exercises, broadening cooperation in the fight against nuclear proliferation, improving cooperation in the areas of armament and logistics, connecting Israel electronically to the NATO system, etc. The Commander-in-Chief of the IDF, Lieutenant-General Ashkenazi, visited NATO headquarters in Brussels two weeks ago.

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni commented on the upgrading of relations between Israel and NATO: "Israel’s defense capabilities are world-famous, and we see the boosting of cooperation between Israel and international security bodies as a strategic goal that adds to Israel’s strength. The relations between Israel and NATO states are of prime importance, and translating the mutual understandings among the states into concrete security cooperation has serious operative implications.

"All of the free nations of the world who understand the nature of the terrorist threat recognize the need to form a united front against it. Israel’s standing in terms of military might and counterterrorist capabilities is recognized by the entire world, aptly conveyed by the expansion of cooperation between Israel and NATO that we witnessed this morning,

"The agreement is a practical expression of the values and responsibility shared by the free nations to preserve world security; it signifies genuine recognition of Israel’s special contribution to the international fight against extremism."

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni will address the NATO ministerial meeting today. During her visit to Brussels, she will meet with the NATO Secretary General, the US Secretary of State, the French foreign minister, and with other foreign ministers who are attending the meeting. She will also meet with heads of the European Union – President of the European Commission Jose Manual Barroso, Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner and others.