SA signs pact with Tanzania, Mozambique

2012-02-07 21:01

Cape Town - South Africa signed a maritime agreement with Tanzania and Mozambique on Tuesday to join forces against pirate attacks along the east coast of Africa.

The trilateral agreement followed a surge in attacks by Somali pirates.

"The agreement will see the three countries working together in securing territorial waters of each respective country," the department of defence said.

"This includes the three parties sending members to participate in the combined maritime operations aimed at searching and interdicting bases of pirates and any other illegal activities in the territorial waters."

At the signing ceremony in Dar es Salaam, Tanzanian President Jokaya Kikwete thanked President Jacob Zuma and his Mozambican counterpart Armando Guebuza for working together to fight piracy in the southern part of the Indian Ocean.

"We will do everything possible to support our forces in combating piracy effectively... we have to keep our seas safe," Kikwete said in comments quoted by the department of international relations.

Sisulu said the three countries had "taken a lead in implementing the maritime strategy endorsed by Southern African Developing Community".

The agreement gave rights to the three forces to, among other things, patrol, search, arrest, seize and undertake pursuit operations on any maritime crime suspect or pirate.

The South African frigate, SAS Mendi, is deployed along the Mozambican channel to combat piracy.

The signing ceremony was attended by navy chief Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu and the Tanzanian and Mozambican military commands.

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