Chair of the Military Committee visits Tunisia

  • 14 Apr. 2024 - 17 Apr. 2024
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  • Last updated: 17 Apr. 2024 11:39

From 14-17 April 2024, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, visited Tunisia, upon the invitation of Minister of Defence Imed Memmich. In Tunis, Admiral Bauer met with the political leadership and military officers and delivered a speech at the War College. He also visited Bizerte Air Base. Tunisia is a long standing Partner, joining the Mediterranean Dialogue almost 30 years ago. The visit of the Chair provided an important opportunity to look in depth at the military cooperation between NATO and Tunisia.

Chair of the Military Committee Admiral Bauer with Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Ammar

Chair of the Military Committee Admiral Bauer with Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Ammar

In his meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nabil Ammar and Defence Minister Memmich, Admiral Bauer discussed the Partnership with Tunisia and how to build on the active military cooperation, already in place. “Tunisia is a key partner for NATO because of the experience and expertise on regional security issues. In fact, Tunisia is of one of the most ambitious partners within the Mediterranean Dialogue and we deeply value that. Under the Defence Capacity Building programme NATO and Tunisia are expanding their cooperation. We also welcome the participation of the Tunisian military in NATO Exercises,” Admiral Bauer said, noting that the DCB package includes important initiatives on defence and security, fostering interoperability with NATO. The Chair said that in this part of the world NATO is keen on cooperating more, for instance in the areas of maritime security, counter-terrorism, border security, cyber defence, and counter-improvised explosive devices.

The Chair told the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence that Allies are now studying recommendations in a new report by independent experts, on how to strengthen NATO’s approach to the Southern neighbourhood, including the MENA region. “Our aim is to agree on a set of measures in time for the NATO Summit in Washington in July,” Admiral Bauer said. “We must listen harder, better and more actively to partners and invest in skills and people to do this,” he added.

In Bizerte Air Base Admiral Bauer visited the 32nd Air Unit and observed a display of capabilities by ground forces and helicopters.  His host was Brigadier General Tarek Akremi, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Tunisian Air Force. “NATO’s Partnership with Tunisia aims to support the modernization and transformation of the Tunisian military and to enhance its capabilities,” Admiral Bauer said as he received a briefing on the 32nd Air Unit.

In his address to the staff and students of the War College Admiral Bauer stressed that regional security is always global security. “Strengthening our Partnerships is of great value for a defensive Alliance that is built on bringing together nations with diverse background and history under one banner, he said. “The threats we face are global & interconnected. I firmly believe that international cooperation is the only way to maintain peace and stability around the world,” Admiral Rob Bauer told the audience. After the speech he answered questions from students of the War College on the role of NATO, the war in Ukraine, the Middle East and many other topics, resulting in lively and frank discussions.

Admiral Bauer also engaged local media and visited the National Museum of Bardo to learn about the rich history and cultural heritage of Tunisia.

The Mediterranean Dialogue is a NATO partnership forum that aims to contribute to regional security and stability in the Mediterranean through political dialogue and practical cooperation. Tunisia became a member in 1995 and has since 2014, joined all partnership programmes available to MD-countries.