SEYCHELLES AND BRITAIN PARTNER TO TARGET THE FINANCIERS OF PIRACY
Seychelles President James Michel and British Prime Minister David Cameron have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Centre (RAPPICC) in Seychelles, at a meeting at Number 10, Downing Street today.
This followed bilateral talks between the two leaders, together with the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and the Seychelles Minister Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy, Joel Morgan, Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, and the British High Commissioner to Seychelles, Matthew Forbes.
The RAPPICC, which the UK is funding with £550,000, will gather intelligence for the use of law enforcement agencies, in order to provide necessary evidence for prosecutions related to piracy activity in both the region and around the world. The UK will also provide the first director for the centre, while the Seychelles will provide the infrastructure necessary for the creation of the new anti-piracy mechanism.
“We are deeply appreciative of Britain’s initiative to hold the Conference on Somalia in order to pave the way for a solution to the security crisis, as well as the financial and technical support for the establishment of RAPPICC. We will be working together to set the example for a comprehensive approach to tackling piracy. We will target the financiers of piracy and cut of the roots of the criminal activities,” said President Michel during the meeting.
The President spoke to the Prime Minister of the experiences Seychelles has faced in the last three years of increased piracy attacks, as well as the most recent case of two Seychellois fishermen that are being held hostage in Somalia.
“The principle of burden-sharing in the fight against piracy is very important. Seychelles does not have the resources to fight piracy alone; we need the support of the international community both in terms of assets and capacity building,” said the President.
Prime Minister Cameron thanked the Seychelles for the remarkable work that it is doing in the fight against piracy, particularly as it is the only country in the region that is currently prosecuting pirates. The two leaders discussed the upcoming London Conference on Somalia as well as the related challenges for peace and stability in the region.
President Michel also expressed his appreciation for the organization of the first Guest of Government visit by a Seychelles Head of State to the United Kingdom, as a symbol of the distinctly improved relations between Seychelles and the United Kingdom.
“This landmark visit heralds a new era of cooperation between Seychelles and Britain, and will set the platform for future projects and partnerships. We reiterate our commitment to building momentum in our relations.”
The President and his delegation have also discussed a number of issues of potential bilateral cooperation with Mr. Cameron's government during the visit, including cooperation on prison management, police cooperation, and support for Small Island Developing States as well as potential compensation for ex-RFA servicemen from Seychelles.
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