Seychelles hosts Comesa anti-war economy forum


Vice-President Faure addressing the delegates yesterday. On his left are Mr Pool, Ms El-Hussainy and Mr Adam

Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam said this in an interview with Nation soon after Vice-President (VP) Danny Faure opened the two-day meeting attended by members of parliament from the Common Market for East and Southern African (Comesa) countries at the Coral Strand resort yesterday.

“We have been chosen to host this meeting because first of all we are a stable country and we have been recognised for the role we are playing in a quiet way to try and move things forward, for example in the fight against piracy,” said Mr Adam.

“Many of the models that are now being adopted by the international community in the anti-piracy effort have been pushed by Seychelles. For example, the European Union is now doing onshore interventions in Somalia, which was one of the recommendations President James Michel made in his letter to world leaders.

“Work under the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Centre has also started, targeting financing of piracy. So a lot of the things that Seychelles has put forward are now being adopted as models,” he said, adding that the finances used for piracy could also be used for other forms of conflict.

“In countries where there is trafficking of diamonds or people the same model can be used to freeze financial assets.”

VP Faure said one country’s security is the security of its neighbours and vice versa:
“In these times of globalisation and global threats, we are aware more than ever that our neighbour’s security is also our security,” he said.

“The conflicts in our region and in Africa as a whole are complex in nature. They are caused by a host of factors that are often intertwined and reinforcing. For that reason, there are no simple or prescribed formulae to deal with these conflicts.

“A multiplicity of actors and approaches are required to adequately address these conflicts. State actors need to complement their strengths and competencies with non-state actors. 
“And we must also enhance the role that legislatures can play in finding common ground around the thorniest of issues.

He said he was therefore delighted that Comesa involves parliamentarians in its programme on peace and security because “they have a key role to play to dissolve the walls of distrust which often build up in conflict areas”.

“It is important that we share experiences, and best practices.
“Insecurity and conflicts are some of the greatest factors contributing to economic stagnation and the debilitating crisis facing our continent.

“There is no clearer example of local conflict having regional and global economic consequences than the instability that has plagued Somalia,” he said, counting the losses the scourge has caused Seychelles and stressing the need for the problem to be addressed as early as possible.

“While piracy has existed for a very long time, the magnitude, intensity and economic repercussions of these activities have reached alarming proportions.

“The issue of piracy appears to have taken an economic life of its own and there is pressing need to address the economic, political and security dimensions of piracy in a coordinated fashion in order to better combat and contain this problem.”

He said that over the last four years, piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean region has affected many members of the Comesa family.

“Seychelles finds itself in the ‘eye of the storm’ and has been severely affected by constant piracy activities in the region.

“When your country is compelled to spend 4% of its gross domestic product to combat the threats of piracy; when there is a reduction of 11% of production of canned tuna which represents 95% of the country’s exports; when you register a reduction of 30% of transshipment activities in your only port; when tourism earnings drop as a result of cancellation of cruise ship activities in your islands and when your local fishermen are taken hostage and kept in captivity for almost a year in Somalia, a grave and extremely preoccupying situation is evident and calls for a discussion on issues of peace and security at an ideal forum and time such as this,” said Mr Faure.

“Piracy will not be curbed and ultimately eliminated without  lasting peace, stability and constitutional normalcy in that country, and without the Somali people themselves having hope in themselves and in the future of their country.”

A group photo of the delegates with Vice-President Faure

Comesa’s assistant secretary general Nagla El-Hussainy and deputy speaker of the Seychelles National Assembly Andre Pool also addressed the delegates, also calling for, among other things, concerted efforts and greater involvement of parliamentarian to resolve insecurity issues in the region.