NATO summit to consider extending military protection to Ceuta and Melilla
Monday 27 June 2022 - 19:44 NATO’s roadmap for the next decade, set to be discussed this week in Madrid will include for the first time talks on including Ceuta and Melilla under the protection NATO.
NATO’s convention in Madrid on June 28-30 will see a revamping of the alliance’s strategic concept, which outlines its main security tasks and challenges but which has not been revised since 2010.
A revision of the strategic concept is expected to include for the first time the defense of “the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of allied countries as a fundamental mission of the organization, according to sources who have had access to the latest drafts of the document, Spanish media reported.
The inclusion of this principle in the Strategic Concept, the second most important text of the Atlantic Alliance, means that the cities of Ceuta and Melilla will be protected under the NATO umbrella.
Article 5 of the Washington Treaty of 1949 states that an attack against any NATO member will be considered an attack against all, but restricts this commitment to the so-called Euro-Atlantic space, limited to the territory of the allied countries in Europe, North America, the Asian part of Turkey and the islands located north of the Tropic of Cancer, which includes the Canary Islands but excludes Ceuta and Melilla.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares has advocated for NATO to widen its mandate to address non-military challenges in Africa, such as “political manipulation of oil resources and illegal immigration.”
“The threats are as much from the southern flank as from the eastern flank,” he told a Madrid news conference on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday described a deadly migrant rush in the enclave of Melilla bordering Morocco as “an attack on the territorial integrity” of Spain which he blamed on “mafias that traffic in human beings”.
Dramatic scenes on Friday saw some 2,000 migrants storm border fences separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave Melilla, leading to at least 18 deaths, according to the latest Moroccan official toll.
“If anyone is responsible for everything that happened at the border, it is the mafias that traffic in human beings,” he told a press conference.
Melilla, along with fellow Spanish enclave Ceuta, are the European Union’s only two borders with the African continent and both towns have long been magnets for migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the bloc.