NATO headquarters 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The possibility of opening an Israeli mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels
is still “on the table” government officials said on Monday, in response to
Turkish claims that Ankara had succeeded in vetoing the initiative.
Sunday night, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the CNNTürk news
channel that Turkey had succeeded in blocking an Israeli attempt to open an
office in the Western military alliance’s headquarters.
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made an attempt to open an office at NATO [headquarters] in Brussels.
said we would veto this attempt and the issue was not even put on the agenda,”
But Israeli officials involved in relations with NATO
said that the option of opening an office at NATO headquarters in Brussels was
“realistic” and was currently under consideration within the Foreign Ministry
and Defense Ministry.
“We do not know of any veto or of the possibility
that one country can veto an offer that was made by NATO,” one government
In recent years, Israel has significantly boosted its
cooperation with NATO and regularly participates in workshops and seminars
organized by the Western military alliance and member countries. In 2010, the
Israel Navy and NATO signed an agreement to deploy a missile ship with Active
Endeavour, a NATO mission to patrol the Mediterranean Sea and prevent terror and
Israel is also seeking to receive an upgraded status
following the conclusion of a Strategic Concept review the military alliance is
currently conducting that will enable Israeli officials to participate in top
NATO forums – even though Israel is not a member of the alliance but a member of
the Mediterranean Dialogue, which was created in 1994 to foster ties with Middle
Eastern countries like Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.
year NATO extended invitations to all of the countries involved in the
Mediterranean Dialogue and other non-membership forums to open offices at NATO
headquarters in Brussels.
Defense officials said that the offer was still
relevant and that it was being “positively considered” by the government. It is
still unclear what the rank of the Foreign Ministry or Defense Ministry official
will be who would man the mission if established.
“We could gain from
having an office in NATO headquarters which could eventually lead to a more
significant increase in cooperation,” one defense official said.