Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Deputy Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) Rose Gottemoeller have stressed the importance of Qatar both as an ally of the intergovernmental military alliance and its important role in securing the alliance's future.
They praised the participation of Qatar in the 29th Nato summit that concluded in the Belgian capital Brussels on Thursday.
In an interview with a local Arabic daily, the Turkish Foreign Minister said Qatar is an important political and military ally and a balanced party in the equation of the international forces in confronting extremism, terrorism and tensions in the world.
He said Doha's participation in the summit reflected the appreciation of the alliance's member-states for the role played by Qatar in countering terrorism on more than one front.
Cavusoglu said Qatar's contribution to the alliance in the form of forces and equipment in Afghanistan, the most important battlefront against terrorism in the world, is an important topic on the agenda of the current summit.
The Turkish foreign minister stressed that Qatar's armed forces have significant military expertise acquired through their participation in extensive training programmes with various forces around the world. "These programmes earned Qatari forces outstanding skills and innovative defensive and offensive plans, especially in rugged geographical regions of Asia."
The minister said these backgrounds made Nato member-states welcome Qatar to the alliance and its participation in the most important and active fronts where terrorist groups are operating, namely Afghanistan. Another task is to restore security and stability to Iraq, which recently declared victory over terrorist organisations, and many other fronts in various regions around the world.
He said Qatar is an important country in the Gulf region, and for its political and geographical importance, it hosts one of the largest military bases in the world, exchanges experiences with great armies and joins them in military exercises.
Cavusoglu said the current Nato summit is an important occasion to highlight the role played by Qatar in the past years in combating terrorism and to celebrate this role in front of the world and the member-states.
For her part, the Deputy Secretary General of Nato said Qatar is an ally and an active player in the alliance. "Qatar has an important part in the alliance's future which faces great challenges at the current time, especially with the growing phenomenon of terrorism around the world."
In the interview, Gottemoeller referred to Qatar's participation for the first time in the 29th Nato Summit, which is attended by 29 member-states and 20 partner countries, as well as representatives from the United Nations, European Union, World Bank and the Nato Parliamentary Assembly.
Nato members welcomed the presence of Qatar and its active involvement in the alliance because of its honourable record in the fight against terrorism, she said.
Gottemoeller explained that the current Nato Summit is held to discuss the defence and economic affairs and ways to provide finance and support to the alliance by all means, especially political and military support.
The summit, she said, will also review the importance of Qatar's joining the alliance because of its regional weighting and its important geographical location, which will provide important support to the countries of the region.
The summit will also take into account Qatar's participation in the development of policies of deterrence, defence and support for security and stability, and the mechanism of sharing the financial burden among the member states of the alliance, in addition to Qatar's involvement in the most important US-led counter-terrorism front in Afghanistan.
She said that during the summit, the alliance will also discuss deployment of Nato-led forces in Southwest Asia, called 'Resolute Support' mission, adding that Qatar is an important and strong member that supports the mission.
On March 7, Qatar and Nato signed an agreement on co-operation in military and security matters. On May 3, Qatar presented to Nato a document of individual partnership and co-operation programme between Qatar and Nato.