Earlier this month, NATO Maritime Command’s deputy commander, Vice Admiral Christian Canova, accompanied a group of representatives from the NATO Parliamentary Assembly during its visit to Djibouti. The aim of this visit was to examine the contribution that armed forces and military facilities stationed in Djibouti can make to support the implementation of NATO’s new strategic concept, focusing on its counter piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield (OOS).
This visit was indeed an opportunity to show members of parliament from NATO countries how key counter piracy contributors coordinate their action locally to make the Indian Ocean a safer place.
The fifteen members of NATO country parliaments were welcomed by General FRAF William Kurtz, Commandant of French Forces in Djibouti. They were kindly hosted onboard a NATO OOS Danish warship HDNMS IVER HUITFELD. Then, the NATO Parliamentary delegation had some talks with the Djiboutian Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Youssouf and their counterparts at the Djiboutian National Assembly. This was suitable an opportunity to discuss matters of regional security, the political situation in Somalia, but also Djibouti’s unique and strategic location.
VAdm Canova also met with the Djiboutian Chief of the Navy, Colonel Abdurrahman Aden Cher who wished to share his positive appraisal of stability progresses made in the Horn of Africa, mentioning AMISOM successes with deployment of Djibouti’s battalion to Somalia.
The NATO parliamentary delegation then proceeded to visit the Japan Self-Defence Forces’ maritime air detachment and base in Djibouti airport. The NATO MPs were given a briefing on Japan’s involvement in counter piracy by Capt. Moriwaki, commanding officer of the Japanese Deployment Air-force for Counter Piracy Enforcement (DAPE).
Reflecting on his visit, VAdm Canova declared: "I am satisfied the way multinational counter piracy forces are containing piracy this year. We eventually should get some pay back of our past four year effort but pirates are waiting ashore better opportunities. Fortunately, the process of regional capability building is ongoing in Djibouti, Kenya, Seychelles, Yemen and soon in Tanzania with the EU civilian capacity building operation (EUCAP NESTOR), NATO’s regional maritime capacity building (RMCB) and national initiatives. I am confident with the capabilities regional navies and coast guards have developed in recent years. Their participation in exercises such as "Cutlass Express” not only shows that they are taking an active step in securing their own waters, but that they are also committed to play a more active role in the overall regional security”.