The Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel, has made an appeal to world leaders to give more attention to the situation in Somalia as a matter of urgency, following the increase in piracy attacks and recruitment of pirates that are “better armed, better organized, and prepared to resort to more desperate measures.”
“The reality of the situation in the Indian Ocean is that despite the reduction in the success rate of pirate attacks, the number of assaults continues to remain relatively constant and in the Southern Indian Ocean even increase,” said the President in his letters to world leaders.
The Seychelles President has sent letters detailing his concerns to the leaders of China, the USA, India, Russia, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, France, UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden, Turkey, Finland, South Africa, Luxembourg, Canada, Brazil, Egypt, South Korea, the European Union, the United Nations, and NATO.
President Michel has made requests to the world leaders for a comprehensive approach to the Somali situation where the anti-piracy and anti-terrorist interventions are complemented by increased support in the peace-keeping mission of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia), as well as the establishment of the rule of law through, inter alia, the building of prisons, law enforcement, and reinforcing the areas of stable government in Somalia.
The Seychelles President outlined five key areas of this comprehensive approach:
1 – Increased commitment and support to peacekeeping forces within Somalia, particular to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces operating in Mogadishu, as well as a maritime presence for the mission that will enable the patrolling of the coast.
2 -Targeted interventions against all criminal and terrorist groups to displace hubs of criminal activity.
3 – Re-enforce and strengthen existing areas of stability within Somalia, with the establishment of rule of law in these areas and creation of economic opportunities are a key part of the effort.
4 – Strengthening the capacity of coastal states to better defend the maritime zones, allowing for better patroling and surveillance capabilities.
5 – Improvement of intelligence sharing networks that will allow for a more efficient and systematic approach in targeting all angles of the criminal network, with particular attention to the financiers of piracy.
The President thanked those governments who had already shown support in the fight against piracy but also appealed to them to increase their engagement as a matter of priority, in order to ensure security in the Indian Ocean region, where over two-thirds of the world’s oil is shipped through and where trade and commerce is becoming exceedingly costly.
The Seychelles President stressed that more support needs be given to those littoral states being directly impacted by piracy.
“We are in the frontline in the fight against piracy. Our people have been taken hostage, our sovereignty is under threat, our security is menaced, and our economy severely affected. The international community needs to do more to support us in our efforts,” concluded the President.