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Thursday 15 December 2011
NDC Delegation Visits Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: 5-9 December 2011
An NDC Delegation headed by Brigadier General Patrick DESJARDINS, Director Academic Operations, and Dr. Karl-Heinz KAMP, Director Research Division, visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 5 to 9 December as part of preparations for the forthcoming International Research Symposium on “African Union (AU) - NATO Relations” to be convened in Africa’s Capital City on 01 March 2012. The Symposium aims to bring together leading experts and scholars from Africa and the Euro-Atlantic area to analyse and discuss with senior policy makers, civil society and the research community, the future of the AU-NATO strategic relationship in the field of peace and security, since the inauguration of NATO support to the AU in 2005.
The NDC participated in a number of joint planning sessions at the Addis Branch Office of its local partner institution and premier African “think tank”, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). Discussions were held with H.E. Ambassador Segun AKINSANYA, Office Director, and Dr. Mehari Taddele MARU, Head - African Conflict Prevention Program, to address envisioned Symposium themes and participants. The significance of the NDC-ISS partnership in providing a platform for constructive criticism and debate concerning the evolving AU-NATO relationship was frequently highlighted. First-hand insight into the professionalism and critical analysis offered by the ISS was also provided through the NDC Delegation’s cordial invitation to the Institute’s 07 December Seminar on “The Independence of South Sudan and the Contribution of the Ethiopian peacekeeping mission in Abyei”, attended by Major General Yohannes G/MESKEL, Head – Ethiopian Peacekeeping Department and a number of Ambassadors and leading Euro-African scholars.
On 08 December, the European Union (EU) Delegation to the AU chaired a meeting of the AU Partners Group (AUPG) dedicated to discussion about the forthcoming AU-NATO Research Symposium. In thanking his hosts, Brigadier General DESJARDINS noted that the location of the meeting was an exemplar of productive NATO-EU relations in addressing issues associated with support to the emergent African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Dr. KAMP went on to highlight the importance of the AU-NATO research project at the highest levels of the Alliance with particular reference to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s (SACEUR) recent request to the College for a strategic assessment of NATO’s role in Africa. The NDC’s AU-NATO Project Team, Dr. Brooke SMITH-WINDSOR and Mr. Eugenio MENGARINI, further underscored the deliberate choice to convene the 2012 Symposium in Addis Ababa in order to address issues “where they matter most” at the seat of AU Headquarters among defense and security practitioners.
In addition to high-level bilateral meetings convened with representatives of the French, Italian, and German Missions, as well as Colonel Helge LOLLAND, Defense Attaché, Royal Norwegian Embassy (NATO Contact Mission to the AU), the NDC Delegation concluded its visit to Ethiopia at an Ambassadorial working dinner graciously hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Odd Inge KVALHEIM. Both African and Euro-Atlantic representatives congratulated the NDC and ISS for offering to be a forum for constructive dialogue on AU-NATO relations particularly in light of recent events in Libya. By all accounts, the 01 March 2012 International Research Symposium in Addis Ababa is looked forward to with anticipation.