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Czechia’s engagement in NATO’s southern neighborhood

As part of NATO’s cooperative security efforts, the Alliance has played an active role in forging partnerships with various southern countries from North Africa, the Sahel, and the Middle East. Consequently, NATO has supported multiple southern partners in their capacity building processes to both resist potential adversaries and confront shared challenges such as terrorism and the growing presence of Russia and China in these regions.

In 1994, NATO launched the Mediterranean Dialogue to contribute to security and stability in the wider Mediterranean region. In this format, NATO actively cooperates with Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia using the “partner-driven” approach.

Moreover, in 2004, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to establish cooperation on a bilateral basis between the Alliance and partners in the broader Middle Eastern Region. Under this Initiative, partners like Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates successfully cooperate with NATO in areas such as fight against terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and civil preparedness. Furthermore, NATO’s substantial capacity building efforts also take place in Iraq under the non-combat advisory mission NATO Mission Iraq.

Czechia has always been very attentive to security threats emerging from the southern neighborhood. Through its active and longstanding engagement, Czechia has become an important partner in the security stabilization process of many African and Middle Eastern countries. For instance, Czechia has taken an active part in the EU Training Mission in Mali, various UN stabilization missions on the African continent, and the Task Force Takuba in the past. As of this year, Czechia will also be involved in capacity building of the Niger Armed Forces.

In Iraq, Czechia has established itself as a relevant security partner. Since 2003, thousands of Czech soldiers have contributed to the IZ SFOR, MNF-I, MNSTC-I and NTM-I operations. Nowadays, Czechia actively participates in the NATO Mission Iraq while also contributing to the Operation Inherent Resolve.

Furthermore, Czechia has been providing financial support to southern partners under NATO’s Defence and Related Security Capacity Building Initiative. In Jordan, Czechia contributed to the construction of a new Military Women’s Training Centre that was opened in 2021.

The Strategic Concept clearly states that NATO’s key purpose is to ensure our collective defence, based on a 360-degree approach. Henceforth, the Alliance will continue to pay a close attention to the security situation in the South. A further destabilization in the region combined with Russia’s on-going war of aggression against Ukraine could pose a serious threat to NATO. Finally, as Russia’s war against Ukraine transforms global geopolitics, it is crucial for NATO Allies to closely cooperate and coordinate with African and Middle Eastern partners in order to enforce a rules-based international order. In these challenging times, Czechia is committed to continue its active engagement, inter alia, in security stabilization and capacity building efforts of our southern partners.

To learn more about Czechia’s overall engagement in Africa, please click here.


Engaging in Africa Czechia´s strategy 827 KB PDF (Adobe Acrobat document) Jan 4, 2023