Sustained efforts are needed from the Alliance to tackle challenges on its Southern flank

18 November 2018

Halifax, Canada, 18 November 2018 - NATO nations need to step up efforts to tackle conflict and instability in the Middle East and North Africa which pose a clear security challenge to the Alliance, members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly stressed Sunday.

“Security in the region remains highly volatile,” said Portuguese deputy Julio Miranda Calha. “Sustained efforts are needed from the Alliance in order to tackle challenges on its Southern flank.”

Miranda Calha drafted a resolution adopted by the NATO PA’s Political Committee that emphasised the strategic importance to the Alliance of a secure, economically and socially stable Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Policy recommendations put forward in the resolution highlighted that NATO governments should maintain assistance to partner countries in the MENA region, helping them to build defence capacity and create professional and accountable security institutions.

Meeting at the NATO PA’s Annual Session, held this year on Canada’s eastern seaboard, the legislators urged Allied governments to provide adequate financial support and personnel for the non-combat NATO training mission in Iraq which was agreed at the NATO summit in July and is due to become fully operational early next year.

NATO also need to develop a “shared policy towards Libya in the areas of defence assistance and security institution building, as well as to use diplomatic leverage on the ground” to work for implementation of the UN action plan which seeks to end the country’s political stalemate.

On Syria, the NATO lawmakers said they were “appalled” by the actions of the Bashar al-Assad regime, including its “barbaric use of chemical weapons.” The draft resolution, which is expected to be approved by the whole Assembly on Monday, calls on NATO governments to develop a “joint, coordinated approach towards a political solution to the war in Syria.”