15 December 2011

Southern Africa: Mozambique and South Africa Cooperate Against Piracy

Suspected pirates surrender (file photo).

Maputo — The Mozambican and South African governments signed in Maputo on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding on maritime security, which seeks to boost the fight against Somali pirate gangs.

Other agreements signed concern the establishment of a Bi-National Cooperation Commission that will meet at least once a year, coordination in radio frequencies, regular diplomatic consultations, a cultural programme covering the 2012/2014 period, and further memoranda of understanding on communications, and on forestry industries.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, at the start of Zuma's two day state visit to Mozambique.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, said that piracy was damaging the Mozambican economy, because of the fear it causes among shipowners, and because of the reduction in maritime traffic along the Mozambique Channel.

He added that the price of goods transported to Mozambique by sea was rising, because insurance companies were increasing the cost of the premiums shipping companies must buy.

He considered South Africa a major partner in the fight against piracy. "With South Africa, in addition to patrols, we have training activities which connects with our entire cooperation in the defence sphere".

For Zuma, the agreements signed should lead to concrete benefits for both peoples. "South Africa and Mozambique should continue to work together to meet the challenges of cooperation", he stressed. "We have the duty to strengthen our cooperation and increase the volume of trade and investment in our countries".

Guebuza said that, at his private meeting with Zuma that preceded the signing, "we reaffirmed our commitment to do our best to take this relationship to new levels".

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