14th Meeting of COMESA Ministers of Foreign Affairs Piracy in the Indian Ocean – Seychelles commended
Seychelles was once more commended for its role in the fight against Piracy in the Indian Ocean during the COMESA Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting in Addis on 28th and 29th March. Piracy was one of the key peace and security challenges addressed at the meeting, which examined peace and security in the COMESA region. Areas which retained the ministers’ appreciation were the arrest and prosecution of pirates and the role played by the Regional Fusion and Law Enforcement Centre for Safety and Security at Sea (REFLECS3)
The report adopted by the meeting cites: “In its efforts Seychelles Government reported in the month of March having transferred 9 convicted Somali pirates to serve the remainder of their sentences in Somalia bringing the total of prisoners transferred to over 90 prisoners. The repatriation has mostly been because the prison space in Seychelles has been increasingly overcrowded with convicted or suspected pirates since Seychelles started to try and imprison pirates.” The report goes further to declare: “Commend the governments of Seychelles, Mauritius and Kenya for their continued commitment in the fight against piracy along the Indian Ocean especially on the arrest and prosecution of pirates.”
On REFLECS3, Kenyan Foreign Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohamed stated that she had visited the facilities in Seychelles last year and she was “impressed” with the Centre, which is “a welcome addition to the efforts that Kenya has taken in the fight against piracy, especially in the prosecution of pirates”. It will be recalled that the Government is encouraging regional partners to play a leading role in the Centre, where there would be more regional ownership of the piracy problems, as well as an equal burden sharing.
In thanking the Ministers of Foreign Affairs for their appreciation, the Seychelles delegation spoke on the need to maintain international forces in the region. Whilst piracy activities in the Indian Ocean had reduced as no major incidences of hijacking of commercial vessels were reported, the Seychelles delegation claimed that there was still need for respective actors that are attributed this decline to maintain their presence. “Whilst the Government of Seychelles commends the efforts of actors like the EU naval operation ATLANTA, EUCAP Nestor and the operations of AMISOM, we request that the international forces be maintained until such a time that stability and normalcy is restored in Somalia.”
The 14th Meeting on COMESA Ministers of Foreign Affairs was attended by Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Barry Faure, COMESA-accredited Ambassador Claude Morel, AU-accredited Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Transport.