Assembly approves new status of forces agreement


04-July-2012

Leader of government business in the National Assembly Marie-Antoinette Rose presented this motion which asked the members to approve the agreement between the EU and the Republic of Seychelles.

This Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa) is an accord between a host country and a foreign nation station forces in that country.

It establishes the rights as well as privileges of the foreign military personnel present in the host country in support of a security arrangement.

Miss Rose said Sofa is of great advantage to Seychelles as we have a vast exclusive economic zone and the EU Naval Forces is helping us to protect our fishermen and other vessels in our waters.

“We need the help and protection of the EU forces and their presence in our waters act as a deterrent to pirates and control other illegal activities.”

Miss Rose explained that there are certain conditions in such an agreement for those military personnel once they are on our shores. These include immunity and tax exemptions.

She added that there are clauses in the agreement which look closely at the aspect of immunity to ensure that our people are protected if there is any case of criminality by foreign military personnel.

She said in case of taxes, they are exempted for equipment which they bring in the country.
She explained that they still have to pay taxes for services such as restaurants, hotels and in shops.

Leader of opposition in the National Assembly David Pierre said he understands the reasoning behind such an agreement.

He added that “we do need the EU as piracy has a negative impact on our tourism and fishing industries”.

But at the same time, he stated, we have to ensure that our Seychellois are protected when there is any act of criminality or misconduct on behalf of these foreign personnel towards our people in our territory.

Other members who commented on the motion were Charles Decommarmond, Lenny Lebon and Derek Samson.

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