The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU is hoping that in the month of June it will achieve formal approval of the European military mission to Mozambique. The purpose of the mission will be to train Mozambican special forces with a view to containing the violence in the Cabo Delgado northern province.
The Portuguese Minister of National Defence, João Gomes Cravinho, called to attention that there is already “a technical team [on the ground] to identify the exact parameters of what this mission could be”, adding that it will have to be “formally approved, which we hope will happen in June”. At that point in time, the mission itself can be on the ground “within three months”, he went on to say.
Cravinho was speaking to journalists at a joint press conference with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, following the Defence Ministers’ meeting, which they attended in person in Lisbon.
The Minister revealed that “seven or eight” Member States have already indicated their willingness to commit military personnel to this mission, but declined to name them at the moment, stressing that, at a later date, it should be “they themselves who state outside the meeting what they had occasion to say within it”.
The contributions will vary, João Gomes Cravinho continued, with the example: “Today one of the countries stated, ‘We cannot supply military personnel but we can provide satellite communications.’ So the contributions will differ but the essential contribution in terms of military personnel will be Portuguese, supported by other Member States”, he underscored.
Armed groups have been terrorising people in the Cabo Delgado region, in the north of Mozambique, in a wave of violence that has not only caused over two thousand deaths but also the displacement of over seven hundred thousand people, according to the Mozambique government.
EU-Africa Partnership for Peace and Security
At the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC), the EU-Africa Partnership for Peace and Security was analysed.
The Minister João Gomes Cravinho pointed out that the meeting just held under the auspices of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU was the first between Defence Ministers of the 27 and representatives of those organisations, noting that “five of the six military missions under the Common Security and Defence Policy are in Africa, and for this reason it is essential to draw closer to our African partners”.
Family photo of the Informal Meeting of Defence Ministers © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira