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PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR HOME AFFAIRS, NATIONAL SECURITY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT Malta chairs the final meeting of the Maltese Presidency of the 5+5 Defence Initiative 2020

Reference Number: PR202612en, Press Release Issue Date: Dec 16, 2020
Minister for Home Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement Byron Camilleri chaired the final meeting of the Maltese Presidency of the 5+5 Defence Initiative during 2020. The Defence Ministers of Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia participated in the meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Ministers discussed a series of activities and military exercises held jointly between the 5+5 member states during 2020. They discussed the challenges facing the countries of the Western Mediterranean, namely illegal migration, transboundary organised crime, and disruptive technologies such as cyberattacks.

All Ministers recalled the crisis in Libya and welcomed the recent progress achieved by the UN mandated peace process. They stressed the need for continued dialogue between all stakeholders and to support the Libyan people. 

“We believe that this initiative is setting a benchmark for cooperation. Regional cooperation is succeeding where other fora of cooperation may have encountered difficulties," explained Minister Camilleri. Recalling the challenges posed by COVID-19, Minister Camilleri expressed his appreciation to the frontliners, including soldiers, who have provided a vital response against the global pandemic.

The meeting approved the 2021 Action Plan, as well as a joint declaration which reflected the importance of the organisation and the continuous support that the Western Mediterranean littoral states give to achieve the aims of the 5+5 Defence Initiative. The member states reaffirmed the importance of the role of women within the armed forces of the 5+5 Defence countries and in the prevention, resolution of conflicts and peacebuilding.

The member states thanked Malta for its Presidency and welcomed the forthcoming Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.​