US hails Seychelles’ leadership role in counter-piracy drive


08-March-2012

Security officials counting boxes of what appeared like AK 47 assault rifle bullets along with loose ones, before the suspected pirates were taken away by police

US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland gave the examples of Seychelles’ action to prosecute and jail convicted pirates, and plans to host a regional intelligence coordination centre to support future piracy prosecutions.

The acceptance follows an entente between President James Michel and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreeing the United States will try to continue reinforcing Seychelles capacity in the fight against piracy and collaborate with Seychelles in common actions against piracy in a proactive manner.

The entente – or friendly agreement between political powers – took place when Mr Michel met Mrs Clinton during the London Conference on Piracy.

It was during the same visit to the UK that Mr Michel signed the agreement for the creation of a Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Centre in Seychelles with British Prime Minister David Cameron at Number 10, Downing Street.

Ms Nuland said her country welcomes Seychelles’ decision to accept the suspects for prosecution in connection with an alleged attack on a merchant ship and the abduction of 13 Iranian fishermen rescued by the US Navy on January 5.

“Today, these individuals join more than 1,060 other suspected pirates facing justice in more than 20 countries,” she said.

“We appreciate the Seychelles’ regional leadership on counter-piracy, as seen in their willingness to prosecute and incarcerate Somali pirates, as well as their plans to host a regional intelligence coordination center to support future piracy prosecutions.

“The successful resolution of this incident marks a positive step forward for building a strong and unified international response against piracy originating from Somalia and for promoting freedom of navigation worldwide,” she said in a statement from New York yesterday.

The 15 arrived at the Seychelles International Airport by air where security officials were seen counting many boxes of what appeared like AK 47 assault rifle bullet along with loose ones, before the suspected pirates were taken away by police.

Meanwhile the suspected pirates appeared before the Supreme Court yesterday and have been remanded in police custody until March 21.

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