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COMMUNIQUE

Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 1090th   meeting held on 28 June 2022, on Maritime Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Peace and Security Council,

Noting the opening remarks by H.E. Ambassador Daniel Owassa, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Congo to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month of June 2022, and the statement by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye read by the Director for Conflict Management Directorate, Dr. Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, as well as the presentation by the Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC), H.E. Ambassador Florentina Adenike Ukonga;

Also noting the statements by the representatives of the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Congo, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Gabonese Republic and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in their capacity as Members of GGC and concerned countries, as well as the statements by the representatives of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) and European Union (EU);

Recalling its previous decisions on maritime security in Africa and  maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) region, in particular Communique PSC/PR/COMM.1012(2021) adopted at its 1012th meeting held on 23 July 2021; and Communique [PSC/PR/COMM. (DCCCLVIII)] adopted at its 858th meeting held on 16 July 2019; also recalling the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which govern the use of oceans and maritime spaces and the UN resolutions on maritime security in the GoG region; further recalling United Nations Security Council Resolution 2634 on piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea;

Also committed to ensure full implementation of the Africa Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa; and the Africa Maritime Transport Charter (AMTC) and the Plan of Action;

Mindful  to ensure the full operationalization of Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS 2050) and its Plan of Action adopted by the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, held in January 2014, and the Africa Blue Economy Strategy, developed following the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2018; and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council:

1. Expresses deep concern over the threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea in the GoG poses to maritime security in the Continent, which greatly affect the shipping industry and the economy of coastal states of region;

2. Strongly condemns all illegal maritime activities, including piracy and armed robbery at sea, IUU fishing, assassinations, kidnappings and hostage-taking committed in the Gulf of Guinea; in this regards, calls on for the Member States concerned to enhance maritime security in their territories and prosecute the perpetrators and of those who finance or facilitate such acts;

3. Commends the countries of the GoG region, the regional bodies, including ECCAS, ECOWAS, the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) for the collective efforts undertaken to address and prevent piracy, and other maritime crimes, which remains a serious threat to the security and economic activities in the region;

4. Welcomes existing national initiatives by Member States in the region to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea, including existing and new national integrated maritime strategies and Nigeria’s Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (Deep Blue Project), as well as recent piracy convictions and legislation passed, aimed at the suppression of piracy and other maritime offences;

5. Reiterates that the responsibility for combating piracy and armed robbery at sea rests with the concerned littoral States; in this vein, calls on the countries of the region to enact laws, criminalize such acts under their domestic law and to investigate, prosecute and extradite the perpetrators; encourages the conclusion of extradition agreements between the countries of the region;

6. Also calls on the countries of the region to implement national, regional and continental maritime security strategies and frameworks, and to develop integrated maritime strategies to address the menaces of maritime domain;

7. Emphasizes the need for the countries of the region with support of the international community, to strengthen maritime domain awareness taking into account its impact on security, safety, economy and environment;

8. Encourages the Rabat African Atlantic Process, as part of existing regional, sub-regional and inter-regional mechanisms, contributing to the consolidation of an inter-African framework that capitalizes on mutually beneficial opportunities for cooperation on maritime safety and security;

9. Requests the AU Commission in collaboration with the RECs/RMs and United Nations (UN) to support Member States in building the capacity to prevent, detect and investigate piracy and terrorist acts linked to maritime domain; further encourages the countries of the region, to work with the AU Commission to mobilize financial and technical support to the fighting against piracy;

10. Requests the AU Commission, in coordination with the RECs/RMs and regional bodies to undertake assessment of the implementation of all instruments and frameworks on maritime security, in order to address the gaps and propose strategies to enhance their implementation;

11. Urges the countries of the region to implement the relevant regional arrangements and frameworks aiming at addressing maritime insecurity in the region, including the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and the Interregional Coordination Centre established by ECCAS and ECOWAS;

12. Directs the AU Commission to establish a body of experts or a Task Force to coordinate, share knowledge and make recommendations on maritime security to provide technical expertise to Member States and other stakeholders in delivering on the AU’s 2050 AIM Strategy and the and Lomé Charter;

13. Emphasizes on the implementation of joint efforts between the AU Commission and the GGC as envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 22 July 2021 on strengthening joint collaboration on issues of maritime security and safety;

14. Looks forward to the holding of the first maritime exercise within the framework of the African Standby Force (ASF), to enhance preparedness and capability of the ASF in addressing maritime security threats in the Continental waters;

15. Requests the AU Commission, in close collaboration with RECs/RMS and other relevant regional bodies to regular brief Council on the matter; and

16. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Situation Room ICU

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