Minister Joël Morgan for the CGPCS 19th Plenary Session May 31st 2016, Seychelles
Mr. Danny Faure, Vice-President of the Republic of Seychelles
Chief of Defence Forces of the Republic of Seychelles
Members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Distinguished Participants and Guests
Members of the CGPCS Secretariat
Members of the Press
Ladies and gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Seychelles to partake in the 19th Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
The hosting of this event follows a recommendation made by you at our last Strategy Meeting in Mumbai, India, this past February.
I am pleased to see those of you who attended our Strategy meeting nearly four months ago and I am particularly happy that so many of you have been able to respond positively and enthusiastically to our invitation.
We are gathered here as long-time partners in a common fight, which is the fight against Piracy.
Since 2008, we fought this scourge and have emerged victorious. We must, however, not become complacent as maritime insecurity takes on a different form today and evolves.
The continued reporting in the news of terrorist attacks and other related maritime threats such as drugs and weapons trafficking, has proven how vulnerable the world and in particular especially our region can be if these dangers are not dealt with swiftly and in a systematic manner.
The CGPCS community cannot remain indifferent to these problems, and we should continue to promote international mobilization and find tangible solutions together for our common long-term security, even as we work to achieve our own objectives.
Since it’s creation, the CGPCS, has provided the needed catalyst for greater international cooperation. I take this opportunity to recognise the hard work of the Chairmanships of the United States and the European Union.
The international dynamism, which can be seen today by the numerous participants present at this plenary should be maintained, precisely because of the maritime threats which are present in the region. It is with certainty that we can continue to count on the support of every member of the CGPCS as we continue the fight against piracy while acknowledging the other threats, which exist.
Our goal as indicated in the adopted ‘Master Message’ is to ensure that all the regional countries play a more active role, progressively taking ownership over the problem of piracy and the maritime threats that this causes within the region. The continued support and partnership of our international partners is of course needed and much appreciated even as we build and improve upon our own capabilities to deliver on our commitment.
Our aim as well is to move towards greater regional engagement especially now that the CGPCS Chairmanship has moved to the Indian Ocean, adopting as our chosen theme for this year “From the Region to the Region: Creating a Lasting Legacy”.
With the above in mind, I would like to commend the work of the co-chairs of the Working Groups 1, 3, 5 as well as the Legal Forum, who have worked hard in preparing this plenary, together with their respective partners from international organizations, the shipping industry, and NGO’s who have all been active and supportive to ensure that the work of these CGPCS groups are not only maintained, but deliver tangible results.
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to all our international partners, in particular the European Union, the UNODC, INTERPOL, the IMO among others but also the Regional Economic Communities of the Eastern, Southern African and Indian Ocean regions namely; IGAD, COMESA, EAC, SADC and IOC who have recently taken the decision at their 3rd Ministerial Meeting in Djibouti to support Seychelles as we set up a Maritime Regional Coordination Operational Centre, which will be tasked to collect all maritime information in the region provided by the Information Fusion Centre in Madagascar, this in order to coordinate regional operations.
All of these achievements are the result of collective efforts by our regional stakeholders. At this time allow me to recognize, and with a special mention, the work of the Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission, His Excellency Mr. Jean Claude de l’Estrac, who has been for the past 5 years very instrumental in bringing about positive change for our Region, driving and has been actively supporting maritime security initiatives.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary General for your leadership, and promotion of a sustainable approach to regional integration.
Seychelles is today delighted that the CGPCS Chair has finally reached its shores and, by that is well positioned within the region. The mandate of the chair, under Seychelles’ leadership, started on the 1st of January 2016 and there is much work ahead. My pledge to you in Mumbai earlier this year was that we would work closely with our regional partners so that regional ownership and capacity could be better realized. We continue to work with these objectives in mind.
Seychelles is of the view that today the CGPCS is in a transition in respect to its mandate. We have another opportunity during this 19th Plenary session to fully engage, discuss and explore opportunities before us as a group. Whether in future we maintain the focus on piracy as per the UN Security Council Resolution or we include other maritime security threats. Whether we stay focused on our current zone, which is the Western Indian Ocean or we extend it to include other piracy hot spots. All of these are issues which merit further consideration and which we shall address and debate upon.
As the chair for 2016, my goal is to ensure that at all times your views and opinions are reflected so that by the 3rd of June we reach a common consensus.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, all of these are positive signs and it gives me great hope that our group is heading towards a stronger regional ownership whilst we count on the international community to continue full support.
This is crucial because the region still remains dependent on the assistance of the international community. I made mention earlier on the need for capacity building. It is clear in my mind that regional capacity building should be reinforced and stepped up. That maritime security operations in the region should continue, and while continuing, evolve to address threats which are as well evolving. This needs to be done so that we safeguard the rule of law in the region, and where needed improving on our capacity.
International security concerns in the Mediterranean and along the coastlines of Europe may seem far placed from our region. However, noting the different challenges we are all faced with today, and our engagements in the past as we faced piracy threats, will be perhaps a working model that can be used to address the new challenges which face on our friends in Europe and beyond. The Indian Ocean remains a key gateway for international commerce for the major economies of the world. Our focus on this now must not be lost even as other threats emerge far away.
In this line, I would like to thank the EU’s Operation ATALANTA and other military operations missions, such as NATO’s ‘Ocean Shield’ and the CMF operations, and the regional projects such as EUCAPNESTOR, CRIMARIO and MASE project which have considered extending their mandate to continue conducting their activities so to ensure that the Indian Ocean, our region stays a ‘zone of Peace and Opportunity’ in the spirit of the UN Declaration of 11th December 1971.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman, friends of the CGPCS I sincerely hope that we will find an agreed option way forward with regards to the future of our group.
I wish you all a fruitful Plenary Session.
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