NATO meets with partners to reaffirm commitment ahead of Vilnius Summit
On 23rd May 2023, the Cooperative Security Division of the NATO International Military Staff (IMS) hosted its Bi-annual Meeting with Partners. Representatives from more than 30 Partner Nations and the European Union Military Staff attended informal workshops to discuss areas of common interest, such as the regional developments in the Western Balkans, the Black Sea, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as the Indo-Pacific. Participants also discussed the implications of Climate Change and the importance of resilience.
Opening the meeting, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer welcomed Partner, EU and NATO colleagues to a new iteration of this flagship event, which “serves as a useful and efficient vehicle for NATO and Partners to engage with one another at the military level”. He underlined how valuable Partnerships are to NATO, adding that “the trust, awareness and mutual commitment they reinforce, are critical foundations to the stability in the world, especially at a time when authoritarian regimes increasingly challenge the Rules-Based International Order”.
Taking the floor next, the Director General of the International Military Staff, Lieutenant General Janusz Adamczak highlighted the importance of NATO’s ongoing support to Partners, especially in the current security environment. Lieutenant General Adamczak stated that “NATO is strengthening its support to those Partners affected by the threat and interference emanating from Russia”.
Partner Military Representatives and staff officers where then briefed on NATO’s efforts to increase its resilience as well as work strands related to climate change. “Both topics are of significant importance to NATO, Allies and Partners – as both will only increase in magnitude if not appropriately addressed now. We are able to mitigate the impact and consequences of both challenges but we can also learn from each other in the way we address them”, noted the Director General.
The following portion was dedicated to a series of workshops, which allowed the participants to divide into smaller groups and discuss regional developments in the Western Balkans, the Black Sea, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as well as the Indo-Pacific. “Partnerships are of vital importance to NATO. In this changed security environment, it is more important than ever that we all work together, that we be more ambitious in our Partnerships to respond to existing and emerging challenges”, added Lieutenant General Francesco Diella, Director of the Cooperative Security Division.
After the different workshops, participants, including IS and IMS senior staff as well as Partner Military Representatives, were invited to a question/answer session and a summary conclusion chaired by Lieutenant General Adamczak. “Partnerships will be an important topic of discussion at the Vilnius Summit in July. Over the years, we have demonstrated that strong partnerships can help in a crisis and sometimes, they can help avert them. Bigger challenges require stronger and more coordinated responses, so it is only logical that our Partnerships should grow stronger as we move forward together”, concluded Lieutenant General Adamczak. He closed the meeting by thanking participants for attending the event and for their invaluable contributions.
At the initiative of the International Military Staff, and under the auspices of its Cooperative Security Division, this Partner meeting is held bi-annually and provides an informal setting for a constructive dialogue on partnerships, military cooperation and other relevant topics.