A roundtable discussion on maritime cooperation and counter piracy recently in Muscat marked a decade of collaboration between Oman and the European Union. The collaboration has tackled piracy off the coast of Oman, and helped maritime capacity building and training, information-sharing and various joint exercises and operations between Oman and the European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor) Somalia.
The Oman-EU Roundtable Discussion gave Omani authorities and the EU Navfor Somalia Operation Atalanta the chance to review current affairs and explore opportunities for further cooperation. EU representatives in the meeting included EU Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso and Operation Atalanta Commander Maj Gen Antonio Planells Palau.
The Omani authorities participating in the discussion included Rear Admiral Abdullah bin Khamis al Ra’eesi, Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman and Omani representatives from the Maritime Security Center (MSC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Representatives from the European Union (EU) delegation to Oman and a representative of the European Special Representative in the Horn of Africa also participated in the discussions.
The relationship between Oman and the EU has grown exponentially over the past ten years, especially through collaborative activities with Operation Atalanta, according to a statement from EU Navfor.
‘The Roundtable Discussion in Muscat focused on how a newly implemented cooperation concept for Operation Atalanta can help further enhance this cooperation between Operation Atalanta and the Omani forces, while also involving other actors in the region. Operation Atalanta continues to greatly value cooperation from contributing organisations and countries like Oman to effectively combat piracy.’
“There are numerous challenges at sea, especially in the West Indian Ocean,” said EU Navfor Somalia Operation Commander Maj Gen Antonio Planells Palau in a speech. “Today, this roundtable gives us the opportunity not only to exchange our understanding of these maritime challenges, but also to pave a productive and clear path for fruitful, future cooperation with the Sultanate of Oman.”
The Omani MSC in coordination with other security actors is responsible for managing maritime security off the coast of Oman and sharing information on piracy, organised crime, maritime terrorism, smuggling, sea pollution and fisheries with international maritime security agencies. With support from the Omani MSC, EU Navfor Somalia Operation Atalanta secures and maintains safety and stability in the regional waters. Oman has been cooperating with the EU through collaborative activities with EU Navfor Somalia for ten years.
‘Today, Operation Atalanta’s regular port visits in Salalah and Muscat entail strategic meetings, joint responses to pirated ships off the coast of Oman, maritime capacity building and training, information-sharing and various joint exercises and operations.’
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