Wednesday, May 14, 2014

EU ponders for other ways to fight piracy in Indian Ocean

The European Union (EU) is planning for some other additional ways on how it could tighten security over the fight against piracy which poses a great threat to navigating ships off the coast of the Indian Ocean. The Head of EU delegation to Tanzania Ambassador Filberto Sebregondi made the remarks in Dar es Salaam on Monday last week during an event to inaugurate EU Week activities for the year 2014 which ends tomorrow on Saturday. The EU celebrates this occasion as ‘Europe Day’ around the globe on every year on 9th May as it was on this day that 64 years ago the Shuman declaration was issued, when Robert Schuman put forward his idea on a united Europe to bring lasting peace and prosperity to the continent. In Tanzania the occasion was celebrated with a range of activities from 5th to 11th May under the theme “EU-Africa Partnership: People, Prosperity and Peace.” Ambassador Sebregondi said  in an exclusive interview moment after he had inaugurated the occasion when this reporter asked him a question with a view to know if there are any other ways the EU is currently undertaking in its endeavor towards its efforts to fight piracy in the region. Currently the EU provides training to army naval officers and police marine officers in countries bordering the Indian Ocean Tanzania included under the operation dubbed ‘Operation Atalanta’. The on-going training programme is the EU’s counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia especially along the Horn of Africa that aims to curb armed robbery of taking control of marine vessels transiting the high risk areas whereby pirates extort ransom money from the crew at sea.   

Head of EU delegation to Tanzania Ambassador Filberto Sebregondi

Under the new move, the EU naval force (EU NAVFOR) militants will be in a position to identify countries that offer financial military support to facilitate malpractices by pirates who are armed with sophisticated war weapons when carrying out their mischief. The EU’s move has come amid reports which have drawn suspicion from the international community that, the pirates along the Indian Ocean might have been receiving financial support from certain powerful nations, a factor that makes them become so obstinate. The envoy made the call that aimed to highlight efforts on fighting piracy along the East African coast and humanitarian operations support by the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) in the region since it was mandated to work in August 2013. In another development, on Thursday this week Ambassador Sebregondi and East African Community (EAC) deputy secretary general on finance and administration Jean Cloude signed an agreement worth Euro 2.3 million grants in Arusha. The signing agreement is aimed at supporting the fight against piracy and other maritime crimes rocking the shores of the Indian Ocean. The money will see the Maritime security programme (MASE) jointly manned by the EAC  and the European Union secure trade routes in East Africa  and the entire Indian Ocean region. When a asked to comment on the constitution review process currently going on in the country, the envoy noted that, his delegation are just observers of the whole process in the Constituent Assembly (CA).
However, he noted that, the EU countries have no any reason to support one idea or another but is in support of the existing union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Meanwhile, the nine EU countries which include United Kingdom, German, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Belgium led by Ambassador Filiberto Sebregond have jointly signed contracts worth €626 million (about Sh1.39 trillion) as grants to Tanzania. The money would be used to facilitate projects for renewable energy, infrastructure and agriculture in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, the signing was part to celebrate the Europe Day occasion.

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