Partners discuss strengthened cooperation in light of new Strategic Concept

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On 9 November 2022, representatives from over 30 Partner Nations attended informal workshops at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, to discuss areas of common interest, including crisis prevention and management, cooperative security, counter-terrorism and human security. The Bi-annual Meeting with Partners was hosted by the Cooperative Security Division of the NATO International Military Staff (IMS).

Participants were welcomed by the Deputy Chair of the Military Committee, Lieutenant General Lance Landrum. “The current global security situation requires this continued military cooperation – and more than ever, it requires strong Partnerships”, he said, adding that “the investments in our partners’ security contribute to the Alliance’s overall security as Partnerships continue to be essential to the way NATO works in addressing security challenges”. Outlining NATO’s resolve to increase its outreach to Partners, he reiterated the Alliance’s unwavering support to Ukraine.

Lieutenant General Landrum’s core message was echoed by the Director General of the IMS, Lieutenant General Janusz Adamczak, who took the floor next. He stressed that NATO’s International Military Staff – as essential link between the political decision-making bodies of the Alliance, the Military Committee, and its Strategic Commanders – fully supports the Alliance’s ambitions for further developing partnerships. Elaborating on NATO’s new Strategic Concept and the higher level of ambition it sets for Partnerships, Lieutenant General Adamczak stressed that “Partners are key security providers, contributing to enhancing NATO’s security and defence as well as upholding the rules-based international order. As such, they are essential and active players on an international scale”, he stressed.

In his Opening Remarks, Major General Francesco Diella, Director of the IMS Cooperative Security Division praised the event for its value and its development into a unique platform for discussion and exchanges between NATO and its Partners. He stressed that the Alliance will continue to strive to enhance its existing partnerships as well as seek out new ones, with Nations who share NATO’s values and interests. “As we work on interpreting the Strategic Concept with a view to turning words into actions, this event is a great opportunity for you, our Partners, to share what the new Strategic Concept means for our continued military cooperation, and bring in your own ideas to further develop our partnerships,” Major General Diella added. 

Partner representatives were then split into small workshops to engage in more in-depth discussions on topics such as crisis prevention and management, cooperative security, counter-terrorism and human security. These working sessions, with NATO staff and Subject Matter Experts, were designed to further develop existing NATO-Partner military cooperation. Through these exchanges, Partners can learn from each other and share their experiences as well as identify areas of cooperation they would like to develop. 

The afternoon debrief session was introduced by Lieutenant General Adamczak, who reiterated that, “in discussing how to better prepare for the future, NATO is strengthening its deterrence and defence posture as well as ensuring it stands ready and able to respond to any threat”. Participants then received a situational briefing by the Ukrainian Military Representative to NATO, Major General Sehii Salkutsan, on the ongoing conflict in his country. Participants issued statements of support and the conversation steered towards NATO’s ongoing support to Ukraine and was broadened to support to all Partners at risk. 

Closing the meeting, Lieutenant General Adamczak cemented the overall frank and positive tones that marked the entire event, with the explicit intention set out to continue and expand upon these kind of exchanges with Partners. In such a pivotal moment in global security, dominated by increased strategic competition and instability in the Euro-Atlantic area, “partnerships matter more than ever”. “In these challenging times”, he concluded, “Partners provide much needed support and stability across their respective regions and well beyond”. 

An innovative format initiated by the Director General of the International Military Staff and organized by the IMS Cooperative Security Division since 2021, the Bi-annual Meeting with Partners serves as a unique, informal platform to engage Military Representatives of NATO Partner countries in constructive and forward-thinking exchanges on political-military and military-strategic topics of common interest. 

This initiative aligns with the vision laid out in the new Strategic Concept, for a stronger Alliance militarily, politically and globally – whereby partnerships prove fundamental to the Alliance’s ability to preserve peace, promote stability, and increase security for all.

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