NATO supporting African Union’s missions
NATO’s support to the African Union (AU) Mission in Sudan (AMIS) successfully concluded on 31 December 2007 following the transfer of AMIS to the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on that date.
At the African Union’s request, NATO’s assistance to AMIS had extended to the fields of strategic deployment, together with the European Union, as well as the provision of training and mentoring to AMIS personnel. Since the start of the mission in June 2005, NATO coordinated the air transport for over 31,500 troops and civilian police personnel from African countries contributing to the African Union Mission out of some 37,500 airlifted in total during this period. During this time, NATO also trained and mentored over 250 AMIS officials in the three AMIS Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Khartoum and El Fasher.
NATO’s support to AMIS has been NATO’s first mission on the African continent. Through this assistance, NATO has developed with the AU – what has been characterised by the AU Commissioner Djinnit during his visit to NATO HQs on 2 March 2007 – as a “very positive cooperation”.
It has been expanded further at the African Union’s request with additional AU appeals to NATO for airlift support to the AU Mission in Somalia and assistance to the African Standby Force. NATO is currently working closely with the AU on taking forward these two requests. Most recently (1 February) the North Atlantic Council decided to respond positively to the request by the African Union for a second extension of NATO’s airlift support to the AU Mission in Somalia for a further 6 months.
All NATO support to the African Union is based on the principle of African ownership with all assistance provided being request-driven. In implementing its support, NATO seeks to have a minimum footprint and coordinate closely with other international organizations, particularly the United Nations and the European Union, as well as with bilateral partners to ensure maximum complementarity and effectiveness.