Seychelles strengthens maritime security

( Seychelles Minister Jean-Paul Adam has highlighted the need to strengthen regional maritime connectivity and has stressed the role that IOR-ARC can play in this regard at the 12th Ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). During the meeting, which took place in India on November 2, the Seychelles delegation also underlined that the region cannot be complacent on the subject of piracy.

The Ministerial meeting was presided by the newly-appointed Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India, the Honorable Mr. Salman Khurshid.

In his interview, Minister Adam highlighted the key links that connect the countries within the Indian Ocean Rim Association. He stressed the relationship between the IOR-ARC and the Indian Ocean Commission, to which Seychelles currently holds the presidency, as well as the possibility for partnership through the establishment of mutual observer status, and a Memorandum of Understanding on potential areas of mutual intervention.

Additionally, Minister Adam expressed solidarity with the government and people of Madagascar, while they proceed with the political transition leading up to elections in May next year. Also he brought to the attention of the member states and partners, the urgent need to mobilize resources for poverty alleviation in Madagascar to ensure stability, as well as a safe and violence-free elections.

Moreover, Minister Adam emphasized maritime security and safety. He thanked and commended the efforts of all the member states for their contribution against the fight against piracy but cautioned that more effort is required since the region cannot afford any form of complacency for the cost is just too great in terms of the people that are held hostage and in terms of the unaffordable cost of trade within the region.

In that regard, he informed the meeting of the regional anti-piracy cell that Seychelles, together with the Indian Ocean Commission, has set up a regional anti-piracy cell to better coordinate the efforts of its members against piracy. He stated that there is an ideal opportunity to build on these experiences in the context of IOR-ARC by also connecting with the efforts of many of their regional partners that have developed similar initiatives. He also informed the meeting that Seychelles is in the process of establishing a Regional Anti-Piracy Intelligence Centre (RAPPIC) to better target the financiers of piracy.

The Minister also highlighted the need for connectivity by facilitating maritime trade routes to create new opportunities for growth and exchanges. He added that in order to foster business growth within member states and within their own economies, it is imperative that they maximize the opportunities by linking the countries with frequent flights.

The IOR-ARC brings together countries along the Indian Ocean coastline and currently has 20 members, namely: Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The Union of Comoros became the 20th member state to join the association after successfully being accepted by all member states in the meeting after the Seychelles, who was reinstated into the organization last year, making it a year since the country rejoined.

The Ministerial meeting was preceded by four other meetings, namely the Indian Ocean Academic Group meeting, the IOR-ARC Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI), the IOR-ARC Business forum, and the Council of Senior Official Meetings which were during the period of October 28 to November 1.

The meeting also presented the opportunity for bilateral meetings whereby the Minister consolidated the ties with the IOR-ARC and regional countries, namely, Madagascar, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.


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