Press release


July 16, 2012

President James Michel has met with the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, President Sharif Sheik Ahmed in the margins of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, to make a plea for the release of the two Seychellois hostages still held in Somalia, Rolly Tambara and Marc Songoire.

In the meeting, President Michel recalled the appeals that Seychelles has been making in all quarters for the rapid release on the Seychellois hostages, and asked President Sharif to add his weight to the efforts being undertaken.  President Michel stated that in view of the progress being made in Somalia to build stability, he was seeking the strengthening of efforts by the TFG to be able to assist with their release since negotiations with the pirate groups were taking much too long.

President Michel highlighted the pain felt by the families of the two innocent fishermen who have been deprived of their freedom.  The President also reiterated to the Somali President that resolution of issues such as this reflected on the ability of Somalia to move forward towards stability and development and urged him to do his utmost to solve the situation.

President Sharif responded that he would do the maximum possible to try and achieve a resolution to the problem, while also noting the serious concerns that continue to exist in terms of the security situation in Somalia.  He briefed the Seychelles delegation on the latest developments in Somalia, and thanked the delegation for its support in relation to the ongoing efforts being made to improve the stability in Somalia and achieve a sustainable solution.  In view of Seychelles’ international leadership in terms of the fight against piracy, he also stated that his government was making serious efforts to address this issue, and asked for Seychelles’ assistance in continuing to sensitise the international community with regards to the needs of the TFG to improve its capacity in this sector.

Seychelles made an appeal to all world leaders last year for improved coordination of the efforts to stabilise Somalia and fight piracy, and following the London Conference on Somalia in February 2012, it was noted that great strides were being made to improve the situation in Somalia itself. 

President Michel welcomed the adoption of a new draft constitution for Somalia on 23rd June this year, and stated that the world was looking forward to its adoption following the necessary internal procedures as a framework for enhancing stability.  He also welcomed efforts personally led by President Sharif to improve the coordination among different Somali authorities as illustrated by the signing of the Dubai Charter earlier this month, strengthening cooperation between the TFG and the region of Somaliland.

The Seychelles Government has been working on a number of fronts to achieve the liberation of Marc Songoire and Rolly Tambara, including through the High Level Committee on Piracy and its negotiating team, as well as in depth diplomatic efforts with international and regional partners.