5+5 Defence Initiative: The Libya – Italy Move

“The 5+5 Defence Initiative is the defence part of the 5+5 Dialogue which brings together five countries on the southern side of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) and five countries on the northern side (France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain). The Initiative seeks to promote dialogue and knowledge sharing, simplify interoperability among armed forces, and build trusting relationships and mutual understanding between Member States,” according to an online source.

“France held the presidency of the ‘’5+5 Defence’’ dialogue in 2017. Ten countries from both sides of the Western Mediterranean have been taking part in this security and defence cooperation forum for the past thirteen years. On the 12th of December, Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, handed over the presidency to her Italian counterpart Roberta Pinotti”, the report stated.

Uhida Najem, Libyan Undersecretary of Defence has called on the Italian government to show non-relented support after Libya’s assumption of the 5+5 Defence Initiative Presidency for 2019. Najem further expressed Libya’s desire to foster cooperation and joint training in the area.

This request had come during a meeting with the Italian ambassador to Libya, Guiseppe Buccino and Italian military attaché, Patricio Rabalino, at the Defence Ministry’s headquarter in Tripoli on Sunday.

The Italian ambassador emphasized the need to take advantage of Libya’s presidency on the 5+5 Defence Initiative this year by increasing joint actions including in the maritime field.

According to him, “The Mediterranean basin binds us all together, and we want it to be a sustainable peace and security region.”

From January 1 to December 31, 2018, Italy occupied the chairmanship of the 5+5 Defence Initiative in a forum for collaboration established in 2004 among Western Mediterranean countries, notably five countries of the northern shore – France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain) and five of the southern shore, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.

This partnership has over the years proved to be very useful in dealing with security and defence issues between the 10-member countries and the common challenges they all face.

According to the reports, this initiative promotes practical activities in the domains of “maritime surveillance, air security, support of the armed forces to civil protection, education, and research.”

It was reported that the year 2018 was much of a success under the leadership of Italy in the initiative, stating that “the Italian Presidency of the 5+5 Defence Initiative closed successfully on December 31st. The 45 activities included in the 2018 Action Plan – 19 of them led by Italy – were all profitably accomplished.”

Libya’s holding of the Presidency of the initiative will seek to further strengthen the relationship between the member states.

The action plan approved by the Defence Ministers comprises of 53 activities, 11 of which will be led by Italy.

An online report stated “on the First of January 2017, France took her turn for a year of the rotating presidency of the ‘’5+5 Defence Dialogue’’ Initiative. This 12th of December, Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, chaired the final meeting with her counterparts at the Defence Ministry before handing over the presidency to her Italian counterpart, Roberta Pinotti. This provided an opportunity to look back on what the French presidency has achieved.”