NATO hosts the African Union for Military to Military Staff Talks
On 6 June 2018, the Cooperative Security Division of the NATO International Military Staff (IMS) hosted the annual NATO – African Union (AU) Military to Military staff talks with a delegation from the AU and 30 representatives from other NATO bodies.
The staff to staff talks were co-chaired by Major General Jan Kazimierz Toft, Director of the NATO IMS Cooperative Security Division and Major General Trust Mugoba, Chief of Staff of the African Standby Force and the Chief Military Adviser to the Commissioner for Peace and Security. During his opening address, Major General Toft took the opportunity to stress “the importance of a mutually beneficial approach for the future of NATO-AU cooperation as well as the importance of trust in this partnership”. For his part, Major General Mugoba thanked NATO for hosting the 5th edition of the Mil-to-Mil talks and pledged to lead the effort to strengthen and enhance the cooperation between the AU and NATO.
The discussions focused on the significant progress made in the last year and reflections on possible areas for future improvements. Particular emphasis was placed on identifying common challenges and threats to both NATO and the AU, and the consequent continued need for complementary strategies and expertise between both parties. “To achieve this complementarity, it is indispensable to continue engaging in extensive political dialogue and practical military cooperation to maintain the current momentum of an improving relationship”, concluded Major General Toft.
By the end of the proceedings, the participants had formed a common list of actions to be carried out in the coming year and beyond. Both co-chairs agreed to declare the Mil-to-Mil talks a successful exercise in fruitful dialogue and mutual understanding, and recognized the need for concerted planning and action to solve present and future issues of common concern. In his closing remarks, Major General Mugoba invited Major General Toft to a follow-on event in 2019 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
Representatives from the NATO International Staff as well as from NATO Allied Command Transformation, the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub Naples, Allied Joint Force Command Naples and SHAPE’s (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) Comprehensive Crisis and Operations Management Centre were also present and took an active part in the discussions.