By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs
Rear Adm. Jeffrey Spivey, director, Maritime Partnership Program, U.S Naval Forces Europe-Africa, vice commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet, attended the official signing of the bilateral agreement between the United States and Seychellois Governments on Countering Illicit Transnational Maritime Activity Operations in conjunction with exercise Cutlass Express 21 on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at the Independence House Annex in Seychelles.
The Agreement was signed by U.S. Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Thom Kohl, and Seychelles Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka. This is the first bilateral maritime Agreement between the United States and an East African country.
Maritime governance which includes the protection of fisheries, preservation of ecosystems, and prevention of crime at sea is a shared responsibility. Through this Agreement the United States and Seychelles strengthen the global network of like-minded partners countering these challenges to maritime security.
“We have always recognized Seychelles as one of the most active and willing maritime security partners in this region. But we know, too, that neither the United States nor Seychelles can assure regional peace alone. We acknowledge that only together can the threats of our time be defeated,” U.S. Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Thomas Kohl said.
The bilateral agreement will enable the United States and Seychelles to strengthen their shared maritime governance by better detecting, deterring, and suppressing illicit transnational maritime activities. This Agreement also represents a significant milestone in the United States-Seychelles bilateral relationship.
U.S. Naval Forces Africa and the U.S. Coast Guard have developed a close partnership with the Seychelles People's Defense Forces, and this bilateral agreement re-affirms the commitment by both governments to further strengthen cooperative law enforcement activities.
“There is an urgent need for the international community to come together to prevent and combat transnational organized crime” said Seychelles’ Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka. “The agreement that we have just signed… is fully in line with our mutual desire and values to promote unity and solidarity between Seychelles and the United States of America and to coordinate and intensify our cooperation and efforts to achieve a safer maritime zone.”
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.