NATO and Morocco sign agreement on Operation Active Endeavour
A Tactical Memorandum of Understanding for Morocco’s contribution to NATO’s anti-terrorism mission, Operation Active Endeavour, was signed in Naples, Italy. The agreement envisages a wide spectrum of cooperation, from information exchange to contribution of naval and air assets.
Naples, 22 October 2009 - Rear Admiral Mohammed Berrada Gouzi, Inspector of the Moroccan Royal Navy, as the Royal Armed Forces/General Headquarters (EMG/FAR) representative, and Vice Admiral Maurizio Gemignani, Commander of Operation Active Endeavour, signed today in Naples, Italy, a Tactical Memorandum of Understanding (TMOU) for a Moroccan contribution to NATO’s anti-terrorism mission, Operation Active Endeavour.
This is an important step forward in NATO-Morocco cooperation. The agreement defines the modalities of Morocco’s participation in the operation and envisages a wide spectrum of cooperation, from information exchange to contribution of naval and air assets.
“Cooperation with partners and Mediterranean Dialogue countries enhances the effectiveness of Operation Active Endeavour and sends a strong, cohesive, deterrent message to anybody who may conceive using the Mediterranean Sea for terrorist intent. The addition of new nations increases NATO’s ability to gather and share information for mutual benefit and reduces the terrorist capability of manoeuvre in the Mediterranean Sea,” Admiral Gemignani said.
The Kingdom of Morocco and NATO concluded an Exchange of Letters on 2 June 2008 with the aim to enhance NATO-Morocco cooperation against terrorism and to develop interoperability between NATO and Morocco military forces in an operational context.
The mission of Operation Active Endeavour is to conduct maritime operations to help deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorism in the Mediterranean. Over the last eight years, OAE has interacted with more than 100,000 merchant ships - a significant deterrent to terrorist activity in the Mediterranean Sea. The Operation has also been an important catalyst for cooperation with non-NATO countries and has provided NATO and participating nations better awareness of maritime traffic and opportunities to develop tactics and procedures employed in other operational activities, including anti-piracy.
OAE was launched in 2001 following the terrorist attacks against the United States. It has since evolved into a comprehensive counter-terrorism operation that is based on the collection and analysis of information of the maritime traffic and on the surveillance conducted by NATO naval and air units. Surveillance by military assets is – at irregular intervals – concentrated into specific areas of the Mediterranean with ‘surge’ operations, during which a larger scale sweep is conducted to establish presence and monitor maritime activity, with the option of conducting at-sea inspections.
More than 100,000 merchant vessels have been contacted during Operation Active Endeavour in nearly eight years, and a total of 159 have been inspected at sea. OAE’s achievements through targeted maritime operations are highly impressive and constitute a significant deterrent to terrorist activity in the Mediterranean Sea. Analysis has shown that the Operation has and continues to make a difference in deterring terrorism and related activities in the Mediterranean. It also has collateral benefits in detecting and reporting illicit activities on the high seas to assist appropriate law enforcement agencies.