World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel has formally opened a mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels, aiming to step up ties with an alliance led by its staunchest supporter, the United States, an Israeli statement said Monday.
The move, under discussion for several years, was announced in June as key NATO member Turkey normalised ties with Israel after severe strains with a once close regional ally.
Israel's ambassador to the European Union Aharon Leshno-Yaar presented his credentials to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Friday, the Israeli embassy statement said.
The two men discussed a new Joint Action Plan between Israel and the alliance, it said, without giving any details.
"Israel attributes great importance to its relations with NATO. The opening of a permanent office reflects Israel's role in promoting peace and stability in the region," Leshno-Yaar said in the statement.
NATO officials were not immediately available to comment.
In June, Stoltenberg had noted that Israel had been an active alliance partner for 20 years and said it was essential to step up cooperation.
"Violence in North Africa and in the Middle East is a clear threat to all our nations.... It is vital that countries which share the same values ... stand together against hate and terrorism," Stoltenberg said during a visit to NATO HQ by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Turkey was a close ally of Israel until 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza, leaving 10 activists dead.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2016, 12:50