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Vice President reaffirmed Seychelles' non-aligned stance in international conflicts

Victoria, Seychelles | March 5, 2024, Tuesday @ 14:07 in National » GENERAL | By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2746
Vice President reaffirmed Seychelles' non-aligned stance in international conflicts

Cutlass Express is one of the training that Seychelles benefits from its membership in the Combined Maritime Forces. (Seychelles Nation)

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Seychelles' Vice President Ahmed Afif has reaffirmed the country's non-aligned position when answering a private notice question in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The question was brought forth by the Leader of the Opposition, Sebastien Pillay, asking who took the decision for Seychelles to form part of US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea and what kind of consultation was done before the decision was taken.

Afif said the decision was taken by the government as per its executive powers, which it has been mandated to have.

"We know very well that where national security is concerned in a dynamic and sensitive environment, the security element remains confidential and the state is not obligated to consult anyone," he said.

The participation of Seychelles in the mission was announced by the United States Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, on December 19 in Bahrain and got many adverse reactions from concerned citizens.

Following this, the islands' government said that it was participating as part of its membership of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) that was set up in 2009 after several pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean. Its aim is to promote security, stability and prosperity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, which encompass some of the world's most important shipping lanes.

Several task forces were also created to address different issues including piracy, narcotics and illegal trafficking among others.

Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has been a member of the CMF since 2012.

A question was raised on whether Seychelles' participation in Operation Prosperity Guardian is tarnishing the image and the sovereignty of the island nation.

The Vice President said Seychelles' image is that it is a non-aligned country and its position in several conflicts is clear, including the one in the Middle East.

"We are against atrocities against any civilians. We have the same position on the war between Ukraine and Russia, we are against any invasion and we promote peace," he added.

He added that when Seychelles joined the Combined Maritime Force, "the government said that there might be a risk for Seychelles but we stand by our principles. Our principle is to protect our maritime route and we protect the road that brings food to Seychelles."

He added that in this operation Seychelles does not have airplanes, boats, or manpower but its operation includes intelligence sharing and receiving.

"We are part of the international community and there is a risk in everything we do but it must be a balanced risk and it is for this reason that here in Seychelles we have entities whose roles are to evaluate those risks and keep the government updated. We also take measures to ensure that our country remains safe and sound and that we protect our citizens. Do not forget that another security element is to ensure that food reaches us at an affordable price," he explained.

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Tags: National Assembly, Combined Maritime Forces, Operation Prosperity Guardian

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