The European Union (EU) and Cape Verde expressed on Tuesday, in Praia, the willingness to strengthen policies and initiatives to increase maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea, in coordinated and mutually beneficial actions.
“We all know the difficulties and threats, the issue of illegal fishing, piracy, international trafficking, and here we have to have a joint platform for action,” said the Cape Verdean Minister of Defense, Janine Lélis, at a conference to present the potential and capabilities of EU coordinated maritime presences.
The event was held at a time when five ships from four EU navies are calling in Cape Verde simultaneously until December 10, as part of European missions to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Called “Coordinated Maritime Presence”, the mission includes the patrol ships “Relámpago” from Spain and “Comandante Borsini” from Italy, the hydrographic ship “D. Carlos I” from Portugal, docked in the port of Praia, and the ships “Tonnerre” and “Commandant Ducuing” from France, in the port of Mindelo, São Vicente island.
For the minister, the simultaneous presence of the five European ships in Cape Verde means the success of coordinated maritime actions, which help the archipelago to strengthen maritime safety, with advantages for all countries that are part of the African region.
Indicating that there are several other programs throughout the year, the minister said that the coordinated maritime presence demonstrates the success of the Special Partnership with the EU, which in November completed 15 years, and whose mission is carried out to mark this date.
The minister also stressed the value that the community gives to the strategic position of Cape Verde, an importance that is being assumed under the Yaoundé protocol, which defines the relations on defense and security among the various regions of Africa in partnership with the G7+Friends of the Gulf of Guinea.
As part of this architecture, Cape Verde will host the Multinational Maritime Coordination Center (CMCM) of Zone G, which is currently being implemented and also encompasses Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal, with which the country hopes will improve defense and contribute to more peace and security in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).