Belgian training for Seychellois soon


General Caelenberge with Mr Loustau-Lalanne at the airport

This came out after the two-day visit of General Gerard Van Caelenberge to Seychelles, ahead of which an agreement was signed to “cement cooperation between his country and Seychelles”.

The principal secretary for foreign affairs Maurice Loustau-Lalanne said this in an interview with Nation soon after General Caelenberge – who is also the Aide-de-Camp to the King of Belgium – left the country yesterday.

“The general came to visit his naval ship, the frigate Louise-Marie and the personnel on board during a wider trip that helped him meet Belgian troops around the world,” said ambassador Loustau-Lalanne.

“His other reason was to make sure we renew our defence agreement with Belgium that has run its term so we’ve renewed it for another three years, forming the basis for more cooperation especially in training.

“We want our coastguards to train how to operate the radars in a high density environment like the one offered by the coast of Belgium where maritime traffic is very intense.

“We’ve requested that our personnel go there and the general is very responsive about this so we are hoping this will happen as a first step,” said Mr Loustau-Lalanne.

He recalled recent collaboration between the two countries regarding bringing to justice a Somali pirate who was being held here but also wanted in Belgium, who was subsequently jailed in the European country.

“We extradited him in May and he has just got a nine-year sentence partly on the basis of information about him which we had here.”

He said the case was classic and shows how Belgium and Seychelles can work together to ensure those who need to face the law are punished.

“Belgium has been very appreciative of Seychelles’ role,” he said.

Mr Loustau-Lalanne said the radar will be put up on the southern group of islands – Aldabra, Farquhar and the Amirantes – to boost our detection system, which at the moment depends on aerial and maritime surveillance.

He said the radars will not be manned on site as they will relay information directly to the coastguard base.