Seychelles and US partner to address security concerns


01-June-2009

The survey was requested by the Seychelles government through the US Embassy in Mauritius and was exclusively focused on how the United States and the Seychelles government might be able to work together on issues of safety, security and potential surveillance options in and around the Indian Ocean.

The senior representative from the command was Colonel Martha McSally, US Africom Chief of Current Operations. During the visit, McSally and others met with the President James Michel and other senior officials in order to get a first-hand account of what would be required to better promote a potential partnership.

"I truly appreciate President Michel and his senior cabinet members making time out of their day to accommodate my team. It was a very productive week and I appreciated the president's candor and openness during our meeting," McSally said. "As the Department of Defence's representative in the African Region, it is our responsibility to work with our African partners in addressing safety and security concerns as well as other issues impacting the lives of African and Island residents."

During the assessment, team members reviewed everything from airfield and air traffic control security to sanitation in local restaurants. The team also examined lodging and force protection issues for any potential US members working on the island in support of a collaborative effort with the Seychellois government.

"This visit would not have been possible without the complete assistance and approval by the US Embassy in Mauritius," McSally said. The embassy served as the overall US delegation lead for the visit and remained with the US Africa Command team throughout the entire assessment period.
 
According to McSally, when the visit was over, all sides understood that no decision had been made and that this assessment of Seychelles was the first step in working with the Seychellois to add to their overall security plan.

A final report of the visit will be submitted through the Departments of Defence and State who will make the final decision on whether or not any further planning and operational efforts will be considered.
 
By Major Eric Hilliard

 

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