Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, EUNAVFOR Operation Commander for the European Union Naval Forces anti-piracy mission, paid a courtesy call on Seychelles President James Michel at State House. His visit follows their meeting in the United Kingdom in February this year during the President’s official visit to the United Kingdom, as well the President’s call on world leaders and organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union for more support in the fight against piracy.
Rear Admiral Potts was accompanied by the EUNAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino; the British High Commissioner to Seychelles, HE Mrs. Lindsay Skoll; Political Advisor for EUNAVFOR, Mrs. Joanne Hamer; Chief of Staff Commander Jerome Origny; EUNAVFOR Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Commander John Simpson; and the Italian Consul to Seychelles, Claudio Izzi. The Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, and the Secretary of State in the Office of the President, Barry Faure, were also present during the meeting.
President Michel and Rear Admiral Potts discussed the progress made over the last three years in terms of the coordinated approach being used in the fight against piracy, the reduction in the number of piracy incidents this year, as well as the success of anti-piracy efforts and political progress that has taken place following the London Conference on Somalia held in the United Kingdom in February. The President spoke about the plight of the two Seychellois hostages in Somalia and the challenges in gaining their release.
“We are grateful for the support of the European Union Naval Forces in the fight against piracy, especially as there have been substantial results in the last year … Seychelles is always ready to play its part in achieving regional peace and stability, and we are encouraged by the positive changes and progress taking place on the ground in Somalia that will bring about the conditions to prevent future piracy. Somalia needs stability that will bring an end to the piracy threat,” said President Michel.
Rear Admiral Potts reassured the President of the European Union’s commitment to continue monitoring and patroling the high-risk areas of the Indian Ocean, which includes the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone.
“We will remain vigilant and committed … Seychelles plays an extremely important part in our operation, and I am grateful for all the support we get,” said Rear Admiral Potts.
During his two-day official visit in Seychelles, Rear Admiral Potts will meet with other ministers and officials from the Seychelles People’s Defense Forces to further discuss the support that Seychelles provides to the EUNAVFOR forces in terms of basin for their maritime patrol aircraft, logistics support to their ships that operate in the Indian Ocean, and the work that the Seychelles is doing in prosecuting and incarcerating pirates as well. He will also visit the personnel working with Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecution and Intelligence Coordination Center.