First visit to Mauritania by Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visited Nouakchott, Mauritania from 29-30 May 2018. While Mauritania has been a partner of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue since 1995, the visit marks the first time a Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visits Mauritania as Mauritania and NATO seek to enhance their practical cooperation.
During his visit, the Chairman met with His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, the Chief of Defence of the Mauritanian Armed Forces, Major General Mohamed Ahmed Cheikh El Ghazouani, the Minister of Defence, Mr. Diallo Mamadou Bathia, high representatives from the G5 Sahel executive secretariat, as well as other senior level military officials.
During the meeting with the President of Mauritania, discussion focused on the importance of continued cooperation between NATO and Mauritania, and Mauritania’s efforts deal with the ongoing regional security issues. General Pavel thanked the President for Mauritania’s continued strong commitment to NATO and welcomed the constant exchange and visits from high level military and political Mauritanian officials to NATO Headquarters in Brussels. ‘Both NATO and Mauritania benefit from our cooperation which ranges across many levels. These meetings improve the understanding of NATO’s policies and cooperation opportunities open to Mauritania as well as strengthen NATO’s understanding of Mauritania, which in turn promotes better mutual understanding and trust ’ stated the Chairman.
Following an official welcome ceremony, General Pavel met with Major General El Ghazouani. The Generals discussed NATO and Mauritanian practical cooperation, regional security challenges and NATO’s Projecting Stability initiative. The Chairman stressed how nothing happened in a vacuum, and that the threats and challenges facing Mauritian and the surrounding region, also affected the Alliance. ‘Threats and challenges such as terrorism and extremism have a global reach so it makes sense that if we share the same challenges, we should also share solutions’, said General Pavel.
Discussions with Mr. Diallo Mamadou Bathia reaffirmed NATO and Mauritania’s ongoing cooperation in the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue partnership and the need to counter regional instability. With the complex nature of regional challenges, it is essential to look for and provide holistic solutions which bring together economic, social, political, non-governmental, other international organizations as well as the military. The Chairman stressed during his press statement, ‘in this ever changing security environment, now more than ever, it is important that we work together to increase global security and stability’.
While in Nouakchott, General Pavel took the opportunity to visit the new G5 Sahel College and meet with high representatives at the G5 Executive Secretariat’s Headquarters. Touring the college, the Chairman stressed the importance of education and training as it enhances not only an individual’s knowledge and skills but also fosters interoperability with partners. Following the meeting with the G5 Sahel high representatives, the Chairman welcomed the detailed briefings he received from the subject matter experts on the ongoing security and development projects and tasks.
G5 Sahel or G5S is an institutional framework for coordination of regional cooperation in development policies and security matters in West Africa. It was formed on 16 February 2014 in Nouakchott, Mauritania at a summit of five Sahel countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.