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LDS maintains opposition to foreign involvement in military facility

The subject of a military facility on Assumption Island has continued to arouse controversy and objection among the public and in the media. 

Public concern has continued despite official statements that the matter was being reconsidered and that any development will be by and for Seychelles only. Statements by the Indian High Commissioner in Seychelles has led to doubts that the Seychelles Government is sincere in its declaration to keep foreign powers out of the equation. 

There has been some quibling over what kind of infrastructure would be intended, but whether it is called a coastguard facility or a military base is of no consequence. It’s all the same in the end. 

There has been a level of acceptance that the presence of a security and defence facility in the south-west corner of the Seychelles maritime zone is necessary. But the proposal has become stuck with controversy over the involvement of India, which according to an agreement with the Seychelles Government, was to build and equip the infrastructure and operate it under joint control with Seychellois authorities.

There has been widespread objection to this formula. LDS has declared that it is categorically against any foreign power being in control of a military facility on our soil. It stands by this and will fight any attempt to secure it.

Recent events have thrown more doubt on the capacity of the Seychelles Defence Forces to meet its security obligations. One was the entry of a foreign vessel into Port Victoria without knowledge of the authorities. The failure was only brought to light by the grounding of the vessel on the reefs. The other is the disappearance of two young soldiers from Assumption Island itself – after they had supposedly gone fishing on a raft. Now, trust in the Coastguard has been diminished so far that the Seychellois find it difficult to accept assurances on their part.

The necessity of a military facility on Assumption has never been properly explained to the Seychellois public, and therefore objections remain. Foreign control is out of the question. There is no going back over this. 

In the ongoing confusion over what is intended, the idea of any facility at all has become suspect. It is necessary to stop and start again from the beginning, with a specific examination of our security needs for the south-west Indian Ocean. There is no going forward with the present plan.

LDS Secretariat

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