The Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel. has met with the British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Alistair Burt MP, at State House this morning.¬†
Minister Burt is on an official visit to Seychelles for the opening of the Regional Anti-Piracy Intelligence and Coordination Centre (RAPPICC), which was a joint project agreed upon by President Michel and British Prime Minister David Cameron during Mr. Michel‚Äôs official visit to the UK in February 2012.
President Michel and Minister Burt discussed the progress that has been made in the fight against piracy at sea and on the ground in Somalia, since the London Conference on Somalia last year. Mr. Michel said that the conference was a ‚Äúwindow of opportunity‚Äù and that improvements had been achieved in Somalia in terms of capacity building and the stability of government but that much more effort would be needed to return the rule of law in Somalia.
The President also said that Seychelles would work to ensure that the multi-national and multi-disciplinary RAPPICC, of which Seychelles is Co-director with Britain, would become a successful center for tackling transnational crime.
‚ÄúWe are grateful for the support that Britain has extended to us in the fight against piracy in terms of capacity building and resources in the prison system, in the legal assistance for the prosecution of pirates, as well as anti-piracy patrols. We are building a strong partnership in intelligence gathering as well, in order to catch the financiers of piracy, and RAPPICC will provide the key coordination for our partnership efforts,‚Äù said President Michel.
Minister Alistair Burt said that RAPPIC will emphasize the work that is done on cooperative information sharing which ‚Äúwill send a message out to those who organize the gangs of piracy that they have no impunity and they are being targeted.‚Äù
‚ÄúNone of this would have happened without the cooperation and the active engagement of those in the Seychelles and the President leading this and the encouragement that he has given and the work that has been done in the past year has been of immense value to the world‚Äôs shipping and to those whose safety depends on it,‚Äù said Minister Burt following the meeting.
Following their meeting, President Michel and Minister Burt attended the official opening ceremony of the RAPPICC, where they unveiled the plaque for the newly-built center.