Seventh round of military-to-military staff talks with the African Union

  • 17 Oct. 2022 - 18 Oct. 2022
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  • Last updated: 18 Oct. 2022 17:54

On 17-18 October 2022, NATO’s Cooperative Security division, under the auspice of its Director, Major General Francesco Diella, welcomed a delegation from the African union for military-to-military talks. Discussions focused on readiness, education and training, participation in exercises as well as capacity building and gender mainstreaming.

IMS meeting African Union

Opening the meeting, Major General Francesco Diella, Director of the Cooperative Security division, welcomed Lieutenant General Antonio Lamas Xavier, head of the African Union (AU) delegation and his staff to the 7th edition of the NATO-AU talks. “Building on NATO’s new Strategic Concept, this meeting is an opportunity to take forward the guidance issued at the Madrid Summit to increase cooperation with our Partners, including international organisations, like the African Union. By working together, we can continue to explore common solutions to common challenges, while developing new opportunities for NATO and AU forces to participate jointly in exercises”, he highlighted.

Both delegations then engaged in discussions on readiness, especially in regards to organizing the African Standby Force. “NATO has stepped up its deterrence and defence efforts across all domains. On land, we are deploying more substantial and combat-ready forces, while improving our readiness and our ability to reinforce as and when required. Over the last 73 years, we have also learned valuable lessons about readiness and resilience, which are essential to organisations such as ours”, added Major General Diella.

The discussions also focused on operational, logistical, capacity-building and support to the African Union, including in the area of countering improvised explosive devices, through exercises, education and training. “Education and training are a key pillar of our cooperation. We are always delighted to welcome AU personnel at our school in Oberammergau or the NATO Defense College, this is not just an opportunity to inform them about NATO but also allows us to engage in a constructive exchange about security and defence”, noted the Director. Another crucial area of NATO support to the African Union is the strategic air and sealift.

The NATO delegation also received a briefing on the AU Commission’s Peace Support Operations division, which puts together policies, guidelines, agreements, frameworks and mechanisms to help bring together regional peace and security mechanism to respond to peace support operations and security challenges.

The last military-to-military staff talks were held on 14-15 May 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The annual talks were put on hold due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and the ensuing travel restrictions. “Hopefully, we can resume the annual cadence of our mil-to-mil talks. NATO remains fully committed to expanding its relationship from support to cooperation with the AU, especially in efforts to tackle security challenges at NATO’s borders”, concluded Major General Diella.