Seychelles in focus as military generals brief world on piracy


President James Michel – who arrived in the UK yesterday – will be among 56 leaders attending the conference which is aimed at pulling together international effort against the menace.

Rear Admiral Potts addressing and answering questions from the media (picture above) – who included Seychelles Nation and SBC journalists (Photos by GT)

Operation commander of the European Union Naval Force Rear Admiral Duncan Potts was on Monday  among those who addressed the media at the Northwood multi-national military headquarters, from where he commands the forces, planning and running the operation in conjunction with various political and military authorities.

Mr Potts, who is due to meet Mr Michel today, on Monday told the media about Seychelles, how pirates operate, are intercepted and prosecuted, adding he has been to Montagne Posée prison where some of the pirates are jailed.

He answered reporters’ questions including those raised by Seychelles Nation and Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation journalists.

Commander Potts taking reporters around the headquarters

Commanders hailed Seychelles determination to help the world fight piracy and commended the special support the allied forces get from the Seychelles Coast Guard.

Delegates and the commanders have detailed and well presented information prepared in a dossier compiled by the three-strong press team at the Office of the President, which is made up of Srdjana Janosevic, Nada Francourt and Rina Yocette, who joined the group this month from the Ministry of Land Use and Housing.

The illustrated dossiers outline Seychelles’ role, affliction and determination to fight piracy, under such headings as: The three years on the frontline of the combat against piracy, Seychelles robust response to the threat of piracy, Seychelles President’s call to solve rather than manage piracy.

The British high commission in Victoria has also contributed to the compilation and gives the reasons for the conference, which has been organised by the UK.

Although he is involved in manning the military aspect of the problem Commander Potts, like Mr Michel, said solution to the menace lies in Somalia itself, adding the problem has not been solved and lulls in piracy are only seasonal and monsoon-related. Organisers of the conference say despite the efforts of the African Union, the United Nations and the international community, international policy towards Somalia is not succeeding.

“After 20 years of sliding backwards, Somalia needs a step-change in effort from the international community, but also Somalia’s political leaders,” they have said.
During tomorrow’s conference, the 56 representatives of governments and multi-lateral organisations will discuss how the international community can step up its efforts to tackle both the root causes and effects of the problems in Somalia.

They hope to agree a series of practical measures to do with security -- sustainable funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia and support for Somali security and justice sectors, what should succeed the transitional institutions in Mogadishu, securing local stability in Somalia, a coordinated international package of support to Somalia’s regions, renewed commitment to collectively tackle the terrorist threat emanating from Somalia and how to break the piracy business model which was also discussed at Northwood on Monday.

They also hope to agree how to deal with Somalia’s humanitarian crisis while seeking better international coordination and ways of handling Somalia issues.

By George Thande, Seychelles Nation reporter in London

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