Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

The President of the Republic of Seychelles and Commander in Chief of the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan was the guest of honour at the official launching of the 14th edition of Exercise Cutlass Express (CE24). The ceremony was held at the Seychelles Defence Academy Auditorium, Ile Perseverance, this morning.

The Cutlass Express 2024 (CE24) is being sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and being conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa and being hosted by the Government of Seychelles, Seychelles Defence Forces and Seychelles Coast Guard. The 10-day maritime exercise will take place from 26th February to 08th  March 2024. It is noted that the Exercise Cutlass Express is AFRICOM’s largest naval training exercise in the Indian Ocean where it brings together navies, coast guards, and maritime law enforcement agencies from East Africa, the Western Indian Ocean, and the United States. This exercise aims to improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity and demonstrate global resolve in maintaining freedom of navigation and the free flow of maritime commerce. Furthermore, the participants will practice deterrence through persistent detection to enhance regional stability against regional and global threats and build interoperability through maritime security partners enabling rapid coalition command and control (C2) formation to protect and advance the international rules-based order.

Delivering his remarks at the ceremony, the Chief of Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), Brigadier Michael Rosette said that this exercise shows Seychelles’ mutual and unwavering commitment to ensure maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean region, “Seychelles is proud to be one of the hosts of such prestigious event and we look forward to once again engage with all our regional and partner forces in the days to come. The Seychelles Defence Forces will continue to contribute in the planning, organization and execution of the exercise to the best of our abilities. Once again, the Cutlass Express Exercise is providing us with an opportunity to come together, to share knowledge and learn from each other. It is through such initiatives and interactions, that we continue to improve our interoperability and continue to build stronger ties with all our friendly partners,” said Brigadier Rosette.

He called on all participants to seize this opportunity to build on their past knowledge and improve their levels of proficiency. Brigadier Rosette further underlined that this exercise is also a chance to strengthen and create new relationships. “This will facilitate our work in the maritime domain, knowing that we are not alone when tackling threats at seas. We know we have the support of each other whenever we face difficulties,” he said.

On his part, the Ambassador for the United States of America to the Republic of Seychelles, H.E. Ambassador Henry V. Jardine said in his remarks, “Maritime security is of paramount importance in today’s interconnected world. Ours oceans and seas are vital lifelines for global trade, transportation, and economic prosperity. They connect nations and people, facilitating the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultures. I would like to commend Seychelles for their prominent role in the global fight against piracy, particularly in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. The international community recognizes Seychelles’ contributions, and your country continues to be a valued partner in global Maritime Security efforts. As Ambassador, I have been focused on strengthening our relationship in this vital arena of maritime security.”

During the ceremony, there were also remarks by Vice Admiral Ishee (Commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet), who also had words of encouragement for the participants.

A total of 35 representatives from Seychelles will participate in this year’s exercise, along with over 100 international partner participants from 12 countries, including Comoros, Djibouti, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, Tunisia, and the United States.

Also present at the ceremony this morning were the Vice President, Mr. Ahmed Afif, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, Minister for Internal Affairs, Mr. Errol Fonseka, Chairperson of the Seychelles Defence and Security Committee in the Seychelles National Assembly, Hon. Clifford Andre, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of U.S. Congressional Staff Delegation, Chief Executive Officer of Seychelles Ports Authority, Mr. Sony Payet, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ted Barbe, Senior SDF officers, Director of RCOC, Capt. Sam Gontier, Director of NISCC, UNODC representative, Partner nation lead representatives, members of Vice Admiral Ishee’s staff and U.S. lead planners, trainers, and representatives.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of State House – Office of the President of the Republic of Seychelles.

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