Warships and maritime patrol aircraft of EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta and a vessel of the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force on patrol against piracy paid a joint port call on Djibouti on 15 October. The joint port call follows a joint naval exercise between the European Union (EU) and Japan on 5-6 October in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. It further confirms the commitment of the EU and Japan and the coordination between their respective forces in the fight against piracy.
The joint port call was marked by a ceremony hosted by the European Union and Japan, with the presence of civilian and military authorities. In the ceremony, the European Union delivered personal protection equipment to support local schools in Djibouti in their response to COVID-19, as well as stationery. Japan also delivered stationery and sports equipment to the schools. During the port call, senior officials from the European Union and Japan met by videoconference and charted plans for further EU-Japan cooperation in the maritime field.
Speaking about the joint naval exercise and the joint port call, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell said: “EU Naval Force Atalanta continues to provide essential protection to vessels of the World Food Programme, African Union Mission in Somalia, and other vulnerable ships. The European Union is proud of its contribution to deterring, preventing and repressing piracy and armed robbery in this region. Joint exercises, such as the one with Japan last week, demonstrate our strong commitment to building like-minded coalitions – increasingly with our Asian partners – to defend international law and enhance international peace and stability. The joint port call on Djibouti illustrates our commitment, together with Japan, to Africa’s security and development.”
The Defence Minister of Japan, KISHI Nobuo mentioned: “Japan and the EU are the strategic partners that share common values including the rule of law. We are committed to upholding the rules-based international order through practical maritime cooperation including cooperation on freedom of navigation and overflight. From this perspective, Japan-EU coordination in the waters of the region with the support from Djiboutian Government is extremely important. We would like to further cooperate with the EU in order to maintain and strengthen a Free and Open Indo Pacific.”
The EU and Japan are committed to upholding the rules-based international order through practical maritime cooperation, including cooperation on freedom of navigation and overflight, to secure sea-lanes of communication and to protect the global maritime domain against all types of threat, traditional and non-traditional. In this context, the EU and Japan reaffirm the universal and unified character of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. The EU and Japan are determined to pursue and enhance their cooperation on freedom of navigation and maritime security through future training initiatives and operational activities at sea. Furthermore, they stand ready to extend their lasting cooperation in this area so as to include also other partners in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific region.