“Somalia is open to further cooperation with the European Union in the area of maritime security”, said President Hassan Sheik Mohamoud of Somalia last week while on board HNLMS Johan de Witt on the Indian Ocean in a position close to the capital city of Mogadishu.
The president sees this type of cooperation as part of broadening UN relations in Somalia. “Maritime cooperation is important for further stabilisation and the development of my country’s coastal regions. I intend to present a first sketch of a full maritime strategy at the Brussels conference.”
President Hassan Sheik Mohamoud and a government delegation were on board the Royal Netherlands Navy ship for a meeting with senior EU officials. After informing his guests of the many capabilities of the ship, Commander Peter Lenselink provided an insight into the counterpiracy operations carried out by naval vessels and maritime patrol aircraft. Lenselink, the Commander of the EU counterpiracy mission, emphasised the link between the counterpiracy mission and maritime security in the region.
The EU officials present alluded to cooperation in different maritime areas. The various EU capabilities were also discussed in order to develop a maritime strategy for Somalia. One example is the seminar on maritime crime organised by EUCAP Nestor, who also had representatives at the meeting. The council of Somali public prosecutors and judges focused on the legal options open to the Somali authorities for dealing with piracy and illegal fishing.
Important stepping stone
The meeting was an important stepping stone to both the third International Counterpiracy Conference on 11 and 12 September in Dubai and the EU’s and Somalia’s New Deal for Somalia conference on 16 September in Brussels. The New Deal Conference underlines the relationship between Somalia and the international community and will set priorities in the areas of security and politics and in terms of socio-economic goals.
Press Release, September 12, 2013; Image: Defensie