High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini visits ITS Carlo Margottini
EU NAVFOR says this week, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini paid a visit to the Horn of Africa. After stopping in Mogadishu and meeting with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, she visited Kenya and then Djibouti. In Djibouti, she visited Operation Atalanta forces on board the ITS Carlo Margottini.
On board ITS Carlo Margottini, Madame Mogherini delivered a speech in which she acknowledged the challenges that Djibouti currently faces including the war in Yemen in the North, the persistence of the Al-Shabab threat in the South and consistent maritime insecurity offshore.
In regards to maritime security, Madame Mogherini explained: “We committed ourselves ten years ago with the launch of Operation EU NAVFOR Atalanta. It was then the first time that the naval assets of the European Union member states were united to work under the European flag, with a common objective: to fight against maritime piracy and restore the freedom of navigation which is so fundamental, to the region, for the European Union and the rest of the world.”
“We cannot stop reminding ourselves that lowering our guard in the name of exceptional results in deterring piracy would be a mistake,” stressed Madame Mogherini. “The recent attacks from last month serve as proof of this.”
In his own speech, Operation Atalanta Commander Rear Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave thanked Madame Mogherini for her visit, and thanked Djibouti authorities for their ongoing support and contribution.
He stressed in his address that if today the impact of Somali piracy is minimal, this is the result of the industry’s implementation of best management practices along with the combined action of different actors and organisations, notably the states in the region.
The Rear Admiral also had the opportunity to provide an update on the last developments in the mission: two months ago, the Operation Headquarters were relocated from Northwood (UK) to Rota (Spain), and the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa also was relocated to Brest, France. The Rear Admiral Mortorell Lacave emphasized that despite these significant changes, the transfer of command will not affect the success of Operation Atalanta. His objective remains to “ensure that what has been achieved operationally over the last decade is maintained and that EU NAVFOR continues to be regarded as a key provider of maritime security in the Horn of African region and in the Western Indian Ocean.” Apart from its involvement in security in the Horn of Africa, the European Union works diligently to strengthen its partnership with the region in many areas. These areas include common interests the EU shares with the Horn of Africa such as addressing climate change, boosting investment, improving management of migration and creating more opportunity for youth. Concluding her visit in the Horn of Africa, HR/VP Mogherini will next visit Ethiopia.