The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, concluded a two day visit to Tunisia (January 27-28) during which General Pavel met with Tunisian Minister of Defense Farhat Horchani and Brigadier General Ismail Fathalli.
The visit by General Pavel focused on Tunisia’s bilateral cooperation with NATO through the Mediterranean Dialogue but also addressed the security situation in Libya as the visit coincides with statements by European and American leaders who are beginning to publicly lay out the diplomatic groundwork for foreign intervention in Libya.
General Pavel expressed “NATO’s commitment to continue to work together with Tunisia to increase their defense capabilities and to fight terrorism” adding “It is by working with Nations such as Tunisia that NATO has built a broad cooperative security network. Our partnerships play a crucial role in the promotion of international peace and security”
— Petr Pavel (@CMC_NATO) January 28, 2016
Tunisia expressed “concern about the situation in Libya and the consequences for Tunisia and the North Africa region.” according to a NATO statement.
While the Tunisian Defense Ministry expressed “Hope that the Libyan protagonists reach a political agreement.”
This is the third high level meeting between NATO and Tunisian officials in the past six months.
In September of 2015 former Minister of Foreign Affairs Taieb Baccouche met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss NATO-Tunisia Cooperation, which followed a visit to Brussels by Prime Minister Habib Essid in May.
The Mediterranean Dialogue was initiated in 1994 by the North Atlantic Council. In addition to Tunisia its members include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania and Morocco.
Cooperation between the individual members of the Mediterranean Dialogue and NATO occurs primarily on a bilateral basis, through Particularly Individual Cooperation Programs. Which according to NATO’s website allow each Mediterranean Dialogue Member “to choose the pace and extent of their cooperation.”
During Taieb Baccouche’s September visit, Tunisia expressed its desire to increase cooperation with NATO in the areas of: “Political consultations, cooperation in the fight against terrorism, cyber defense, defense planning and management, public diplomacy, and scientific cooperation”