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Security in the Indian Ocean is a part of global context: Mauritian Foreign Minister Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo

Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo

Balaclava, July 8 (UITV): "Security in the Indian Ocean is part of a global context and should not be discussed in isolation," the Foreign Minister said this morning. Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo opened the conference of the Contact Group on Piracy off the coast of Somalia. Some 200 delegates representing 24 countries, as well as representatives of the European Union, the African Union, the United Nations and the IOC, are participating in this meeting, which is being held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava.

 

 

Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, in his speech, called for strengthened regional and international cooperation in the face of the growing security risks in the western Indian Ocean. He believes that the region is "increasingly vulnerable" to the dangers of drug trafficking, piracy, human trafficking, illegal fishing, looting of marine resources and smuggling, among others.

 

For the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the issue of maritime safety is "at the heart of the concerns of the IOC", of which he is currently Chairman. He announced a high-level meeting of IOC Ministers of the Interior in early October to discuss the issue and find ways to make the area safer. "The international community must support our maritime security efforts. There is no point in putting house at home if there is always disorder in the neighbor. We need concerted action to address maritime insecurity, "the minister insisted.

 

 

Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo observed that drug trafficking by sea in the region has taken "a disturbing dimension", before expressing concern that the area has become "a transshipment point for narcotics in an international circuit". At the same time, he drew attention to the risks involved in money laundering and the need to be vigilant about this problem, "especially for a financial center like Mauritius". The minister also insisted on the rationale for the contact group on piracy off the coast of Somalia, arguing that this structure should maintain and enhance its mission within the framework of the regional security strategy.

 

UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun stressed the need to "tackle the causes of piracy at the source". It also maintains that "the risks of resurgence of the activities of pirates in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean are still real, even if there has been a lull" in recent years.

 

Somalia's Minister of Fisheries, Abdirahman Abdi, said maritime security is one of the priorities of the new government in Somalia. The new regime, he said, "promotes the creation of jobs for young people as a sustainable way to counter poverty and delinquency". According to him, poverty and unemployment "are reasons that push Somalis towards piracy".

 

Ambassador Barry Flaure, Seychelles' Secretary of State and chair of the contact group, spoke of regional initiatives in the fight against insecurity in our seas. As a reminder, the Seychelles is already home to a regional operational coordination center on maritime surveillance of the area. The ceremony of signing the agreement for the establishment of this structure took place last Saturday in the presence of Minister Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, who was on mission in the archipelago. The conference ends this afternoon after the adoption of a joint communication.

 

by Ujjainee Chakraborty