Members from Somalia’s government and the European Union have again met to discuss how to strengthen maritime security and economic development in Somalia.
The European Naval Force Somalia, also known as Operation Atalanta, hosted the president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, as well as Somali ministers and security commanders, on board the HNLMS Johan de Witt, an EU Naval Force Dutch-flag ship. Michele Cervone d’Urso, the EU’s special envoy to Somalia, along with Bob Tarrant, EU Naval Force operation commander, and Etienne de Poncins, head of mission of EU Capacity Building Mission Nestor, represented the EU.
The event built on a previous meeting held on June 24 and aimed to further foster the partnership between Somalia and the EU, in preparation of the third international counter-piracy conference in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, from Sept. 11-12, and the “New Deal for Somalia” Conference in Brussels, on Sept. 16, which is expected to commit the Somali people and their international partners to a set of key priorities and new support for the reconstruction of Somalia over the next three years.
“Somalia welcomes cooperation with the EU to improve maritime security as part of the broader engagement of the EU in Somalia,” President Mohamud said. “Maritime cooperation will have important effect on the stabilization and development of coastal areas in my country. I intend to present the outline of a comprehensive maritime strategy during the Brussels conference.”
Cervone d’Urso added: “This event was yet another occasion to reiterate the EU’s strong commitment to help Somalia on its path towards stability and security. During the upcoming ‘New Deal for Somalia’ Conference in Brussels, support to the Somali security sector will be high on the agenda, including maritime security.”
The meeting also provided a platform for a EUCAP Nestor maritime crime seminar, which aimed to help Somali authorities increase their capabilities to fight piracy and other illegal activities off their coastline. Attendees to the seminar included Somali prosecutors, judges and maritime police officers, who observed a demonstration of how a suspect pirate vessel is intercepted.