The 5+5 Defense Initiative is committed to developing multilateral cooperation

The member countries of the “5+5 Defense” Initiative pledged, Thursday in Rabat, to further develop multilateral cooperation with the aim of strengthening mutual understanding and trust in order to face common security challenges in the region.

In a joint declaration published at the end of the 14th meeting of the Chiefs of Staff of the Armies of the Member States of the “5+5 Defense” Initiative, which was held under the presidency of the Kingdom of Morocco, the participants reaffirmed the continued development of multilateral cooperation, initiated since 2004 between the member countries of this initiative to promote security in the Western Mediterranean.

The Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of eight member countries of the Initiative, namely France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain, or their representatives, have also reaffirmed the continuity and effectiveness of cooperation activities to achieve the expected objectives according to the capacities of each Member State, in accordance with the principles of “volunteering, pragmatism and consensus”.

Similarly, the Joint Declaration calls for the sustainability of cooperation in the four major pillars, namely areas relating to maritime surveillance, air security, the contribution of the Armed Forces to the management of major disasters, as well as academic research and the training.

It is also a question of “continuing to expand cooperation to other areas of common interest such as special forces, cybersecurity, drones, the fight against terrorism, search and rescue, artificial intelligence , humanitarian demining, counter improvised explosive devices (C-IED), military medical support, civil-military cooperation (CIMIC), countering marine pollution and security challenges resulting from climate change”.

Member countries also recommend “maintaining the conduct of practical and realistic exercises”, in particular “SEABORDER”, “CIRCAETE” and those relating to search and rescue operations, and encouraging the sharing of feedback from these activities in order to to strengthen interoperability between the Armed Forces of member countries.

In the same vein, the Joint Declaration calls for encouraging the exchange of experiences acquired by the armed forces during their contribution, in support of the civil authorities, in the management of major natural disasters, pandemics or epidemics.

In addition, the member countries welcome the efforts made by the “5+5 Defense” College and the relevance of the themes chosen relating to security and defence, as well as the efforts made by the Euro-Maghreb Center for Research and Strategic Studies ( CEMRES) aimed at deepening reflection and analysis to better understand topical issues related to common security.

In the same vein, they encourage the cooperation initiated between the “5+5 Defense” College and CEMRES in order to optimize training and research within the “5+5 Defense” Initiative.

In addition, the document welcomes the launch of the “5+5 Cyber” forum which will, through active participation, improve the exchange of information and experiences between the member countries of the Cyber ​​Defense Initiative. .

The Chiefs of Staff of the member countries of the 5+5 initiative or their representatives also support the continuation of the work of the 5+5 Training Center on Humanitarian Demining (5+5 TCHD) and encourage the programming of activities in this area under future action plans.

They also underline the importance of the exchange of information between the Navies of the Member States, through the Network of the Virtual Regional Center of Control of the Maritime Traffic (V-RMTC) which contributes to a better knowledge of the maritime situation, as well as the importance of the website of the “5+5 Defense” Initiative, while encouraging its efforts as a platform for the exchange of up-to-date information and the promotion of the Initiative.

The Joint Declaration also recommends promoting equal opportunities between genders and taking them into account in the armed forces of the member states of the “5 + 5 Defence” Initiative, while emphasizing the important role of women in the prevention and conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

The document also encourages the holding of meetings of Air Chiefs of Staff and Marine Chiefs of Staff, as well as of Directors of Military Health Services in order to strengthen mutual understanding, and to study the possibility to create a specialized security center for the exchange of information between the 5+5 countries in the field of the fight against terrorism.

Finally, the Final Declaration reaffirms the collective commitment in favor of the sustainability of the “5+5 Defense” Initiative, which constitutes “a space for exchange, consultation and multilateral understanding making it possible to collectively meet regional challenges and watch over peace, security and stability in the Western Mediterranean”.

The Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the member countries of the “5+5 Defense” Initiative, (France- Italy- Libya- Malta -Mauritania- Morocco- Portugal- Spain) or their representatives have agreed to recommend the integration of these conclusions in the joint declaration to sanction the work of the 18th meeting of defense ministers of member countries, scheduled for December 16, 2022 in Rabat.

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