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President Michel Also Meets AU Peace And Security Commissioner

Seychelles commends United Nations commitment to Indian Ocean region

Jul 15, 2010

President James Michel has met with Margaret Vogt, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to the Symposium on Piracy, who is also the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia.

President Michel said that the United Nations has an important role to play in ensuring the stability of the Indian Ocean region and commended the work of the UN in Somalia, as well as the efforts to boost capacity-building in Seychelles.

“ Seychelles is pleased with the level of commitment of the United Nations to addressing the problem of Somali piracy, as well as considering the effects of this problem on Small Island Developing States and principally Seychelles,” said President Michel.

President Michel and Margaret Vogt also discussed ways in which the United Nations can aid Seychelles in improving the infrastructure and systems for the incarceration and prosecution of pirates.

“ We commend the initiative that the Seychelles is taking to deal with this very difficult problem. We acknowledge the tremendous impact of this problem on Seychelles… the economic impact, the losses in terms of GDP, is a major one… the social impact is very great,” said Margaret Vogt.

Mrs. Vogt said that the UN would consider several options in the fight against piracy and that this would include the development of the capacity of the countries of the region to tackle the piracy problem.

“ It is a very difficult problem. Nobody would have thought a year ago that you would have pirates over a thousand nautical miles from the coast of Somalia… the international mechanism that has been put into place to intercept them is already working,” said the UN Deputy Special Representative.

Working on the same issue of piracy, President James Michel met with the African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Ambassador, Ramtane Lamamra, who is on his first visit to Seychelles and has participated in the Symposium on Piracy, which concluded today.

President Michel has said that the talks with Ambassador Lamamra were very fruitful, and that particular attention was given to the challenges Seychelles and other Indian Ocean nations are facing to ensure their security and stability.

“The African Union must look at the needs of small island developing states and not just the needs of the continent. I have been trying to draw attention to the plight of small islands of the African region in terms of the fight against piracy and climate change. At first mainland Africa did not realize the scale of the problem, but now there is a change in direction, and Africa has started to realize that we must face these challenges together,” said President Michel.

President Michel said that he appreciated the African Union’s intention to consider the needs of Seychelles in the collective security strategy of the continent.

On his part, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra said that the African Union is taking the piracy activity off the coast of Somalia seriously.

“We look at piracy on a dual level: the piracy link directly to Somali and the overall phenomenon of piracy, which should be handled through the development of maritime security systems for the continent. As far as Somalia is concerned, we do believe some of the root causes of the piracy in the region have to be handled, and those root causes have to do with the underdevelopment in the country, with the clanic organization of the society, and above all with the fact that for the last 20 to 25 years there has not been stability, security, strong central government in the region,” said Ambassador Lamamra.

Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra also said that the illegal dumping of waste in Somali waters, as well as illegal fishing, should be addressed so that the pirates do not continue to use this as a pretext for their piracy activities.

“We should make sure that the whole international community abides by international law. This is not a jungle, the seas are governed by law, and, therefore, I think if we have genuinely committed to helping Somalia to solve its problems, then the rest of the world should also clearly abide by the rule of law.”

Seychelles commends United Nations commitment to Indian Ocean region
Margaret Vogt and President James Michel / Photo from Seychelles Office of the President

Source: Seychelles Office of the President

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