Staff members from U.S. Africa Command and military delegates from four countries, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the United Nations gathered at the command’s headquarters July 29, 2013, to discuss how they might improve their long-standing cooperation to enhance security and stability in Libya.
Welcoming the delegates of top military officials from the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, NATO and the United Nations, the AFRICOM’s deputy to the commander for military operations (DCMO), Marine Corps Lieutenant General Steven Hummer said security and stability challenges in Africa require a collaborative effort, and he thanked the delegates for their shared interest in ensuring a stable and secure Africa.
The visitors were hosted by the AFRICOM’s Strategy, Plans and Programs Directorate (J5), led by Major General Charles Hooper.
Their aim was to meet in order to try and coordinate international efforts to reduce duplication and improve results by providing a complementary and structured package of support.
“A coordinated effort in Libya is the best way of providing effective support to the region,” said Air Commander Gavin Parker, from the UK’s ministry of defense. “By working together to identify the requirements and provide a coherent response, the international community can offer a comprehensive package of support to the Government of Libya which is more likely to succeed in meeting its aims.”
According to Hooper, one of the purposes of the meeting was to discuss how to collaborate and synergize the efforts of the U.S. and international partners to help the Libyan people build a new Libya.
“Everyone agrees that the future of Libya and the future of the efforts of our international partners to help the Libyan people and the Libyan government to build a new country in the aftermath of their revolution is important,” said Hooper. “This (meeting) is an effort to bring together all the international partners that have made commitments to assist the Libyan people and the Libyan government to allow them to discuss with each other their individual efforts and to agree upon a collective approach that will allow us to leverage each other’s strengths.”
Stability in Libya will assist stability in the entire region, Hooper added, noting that Libya, in terms of location in the Sahel Maghreb and in North Africa is an extremely important country.
“By assisting the Libyan government in securing their borders, stemming the flow of weapons and violent extremists across the Sahel/ Maghreb and helping Libya to grow their capacity and capabilities, Libya will be able to provide security, not only for its own people, but to contribute to security and stability in the entire North Africa region,” concluded Hooper.
As part of an effort to work together with the Libyan military, the UK plans to train members of the Libyan Armed Forces in basic infantry skills and leadership in Cambridgeshire, UK.
“This training is part of a broader package of defense and security assistance developed with the US, France and Italy,” Parker said. “This is aimed at supporting the Libyan Government’s efforts to increase the effectiveness and capacity of its security and justice sector institutions, and to ensure the state’s monopoly on security.”