Parliamentarians from Nato nations to gather at Abu Dhabi

October 6th, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Abu Dhabi, Oct 6 (IANS) Parliamentarians from 15 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) countries will interact with legislators from Middle Eastern and North African countries at a seminar here this month.The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Ministry of State for Federal National Council Affairs (MSFNCA) will host a seminar on ‘The Middle East and Global Challenges’ here Oct 8-9, the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

Over 50 parliamentarians, officials from international organisations and governments, senior academics, journalists and experts will take part in the event.

“This strategic meeting contributes to creating a common understanding between Nato countries and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region, and will address the global challenges faced by the Middle East,” UAE’s Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs Anwar Gargash said.

“The event will serve as a crucial platform to exchange opinions and experiences and also highlight the political experience of the UAE and the efforts taken to enhance political practices,” he added.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE form the GCC.

UAE’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and President of the Nato Parliamentary Assembly Jose Lello will address the opening ceremony of the seminar.

The proceedings will be presided over by Jean-Michel Boucheron, Chairman of the Nato parliamentary Assembly’s Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group.

Alvaro de Soto, former UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, will deliver the keynote address outlining global challenges faced by the Middle East.

The first day of the seminar will be devoted to political reform in the Middle East and the Gulf’s energy security challenges.

On the second day, the participants will focus on Gulf security perceptions and the role of Nato, as well as on initiatives and obstacles in the area of inter-cultural dialogue.

Among the notable speakers at the seminar will be Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Speaker of the Federal National Council of the UAE; Ambassador Ahmed Benhelli, Assistant Secretary General of the League of Arab States; Noevan Hulst, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh; and Scott Ritter, former chief UN Inspector in Iraq.

The seminar is being held as part of the activities of the Nato Parliamentary Assembly’s Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group.

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