EUCAP NESTOR Head of Mission (HoM) Maria-Cristina Stepanescu visited Garowe, Puntland, at the end of January and into February to check the progress on establishing the Mission’s Field Office and also attend meetings with key local maritime security stakeholder ministries and international partners.
In addition, she met with the Head of the UNSOM’s Puntland Area Office and Resident Coordinator’s Office, who provided an overview of the local political and security situation as well as of Puntland counterparts.
On 31 January, the HoM briefly participated in the Puntland Maritime Security Coordination Committee meeting, and she had a bilateral meeting with the Puntland Deputy Minister for Planning and International Cooperation.
On 1 February, the HoM met with the Vice President of Puntland. The Mission’s mandate to assist Somalia in strengthening its maritime security capacity was described, alongside Puntland priorities including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, weapons smuggling and human trafficking.
The Vice President further noted that while acts of piracy no longer pose a threat, there is a real possibility that piracy might resurface. In addition, the current severe drought and increasingly dire humanitarian situation were highlighted during the discussions.
In all meetings, the HoM introduced the new mandate of the Mission, which will come into effect as of 1 March 2017. Under its new mandate, the Mission will be renamed EUCAP Somalia. The official opening of the Mission’s Field Office in Garowe is scheduled for early March.
EUCAP Nestor is a civilian EU mission, under the auspices of the Common Security and Defence Policy, which assists Somalia in strengthening its capacity to ensure maritime security and in particular to fight piracy.