NATO and Mauritania are further developing their long-standing partnership, by widening the scope of their political dialogue and practical cooperation. NATO civil and military officials have just completed a trip to Mauritania, where they discussed opportunities for potential additional advice, training and capacity building activities in support to Mauritanian national defence and security structures and institutions.
They met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Chief of Defence, and several high level officials of the Mauritanian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence, as well as with representatives of the international community, including the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretariat, the G5 Sahel Defence College, the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the European Union.
This trip follows upon a visit to Brussels, earlier this year, by the President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. “I welcome Mauritania’s important contributions to regional security. You are a leader in the G5 Sahel group and your forces are in the front line, countering terrorism in the region. We are closely following the security situation”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on that occasion, which marked the first ever visit of a Mauritanian President to NATO. “I am pleased to say we have agreed on an enhanced dialogue on counter-terrorism; this dialogue can lead to greater cooperation between NATO and Mauritania, including on border security and countering improvised explosive devices”, the Secretary General added.
During this month’s NATO Summit in Brussels, Allied leaders pointed out that the deteriorating situation in the Sahel region matters to NATO’s collective security. They made clear that NATO’s approach to the Sahel is currently focused on our long-standing partnership with Mauritania, and that Allies also continue to engage in dialogue with relevant NATO partners, representatives from the Sahel region, international and regional organisations and entities such as the African Union, the G5 Sahel structures, the UN, and the EU, as well as with the Coalition for the Sahel. NATO will enhance its engagement with the G5 Sahel structures and remains open, upon request, to consider further engagements in the region.
Mauritania has been a NATO partner country since 1995, within the framework of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue. In recent years, the Alliance has supported Mauritania with constructing safe munition depots, destroying obsolete ammunition and training military personnel. NATO also helped to set up four crisis management centres in the country, and has supported the development of Mauritania’s operational capabilities and crisis management in the fields of public health and civil protection through the establishment of two civil protection units.