News: Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea

The economic of Sao Tome and Principe is facing a change of scope. The Government is working to improve the use of our marine resources. Therefore, maritime security becames a national priority and STP must assume its role at the regional level.

This article reflects the efforts that STP is making to promote regional cooperation on the issue.

Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe Visits AFRICOM Headquarters

By Scott Nielsen

U.S. AFRICOM 29/09/2012 http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=8331

STUTTGART, Germany, Sep 29, 2012 — U.S. Africa Command welcomed Prime
Minister Patrice Trovoada of Sao Tome and Principe to the command
headquarters at Kelley Barracks on Monday, September 24, 2012.

Trovoada is the first African head of government to visit AFRICOM’s
headquarters. The command, which is responsible for U.S. military
relations with 54 African countries, partners with African nations to
strengthen their defense capability. His visit gave senior leaders at
AFRICOM the opportunity to talk about mutual security concerns,
particularly in the area around the Gulf of Guinea.

Accompanying the prime minister were Sao Tome and Principe Minister of
Defense and Security Carlos Olimpio Stock and U.S. Ambassador to Sao
Tome and Principe and Gabon Eric Benjaminson. The visit included
briefings about the command’s role in Africa and how it works with
local governments and militaries to promote security across the
continent.

“I’m leaving more comfortable that the U.S. is willing to work
together with African nations on issues that are important and
beneficial to both of us,” Trovoada said.

The prime minister’s visit came two weeks after the attacks on the
consulate in Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other
Americans died. Trovoada emphasized his country’s support of America
in wake of the attacks.

“I believe that we as Africans, we know that the United States has
been under a tremendous amount of threats,” he explained, “And those
who want to attack America and American interests, they are also
attacking values we share and that we want to defend.”

He added: “We have been shocked in Sao Tome, and not only in Sao Tome
and Principe, for what happened in Benghazi. And this is just
reinforcing our determination to work together.”

The prime minister and the AFRICOM commander discussed the strategic
themes and roles both militaries play in keeping the waters around the
Gulf of Guinea safe.

“Sao Tome and Principe is an important partner in contributing to the
regional security and stability in the Gulf of Guinea,” said General
Carter F. Ham, U.S. AFRICOM commander. “We look forward to future
cooperation between our two militaries.”

Ham visited Sao Tome in May 2012 as part of a visit to the members of
the Economic Community of Central African States. The ECCAS has
maritime agreements that include the joint patrolling of the waters
around Cameroon, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea.

The Islands of Sao Tome and Principe are situated off the African
coast of Guinea near several of the continent’s fastest-growing and
busiest ports. The rise in shipping and maritime activity increases
the need for safety along the African coastline. Shipping has been an
important part of its economy since its beginnings under Portuguese
rule. Today, it has emerged as a vibrant democracy whose economy still
relies heavily on the shipping industry.

The prime minister spoke about the appreciation he has for the work of
the U.S. military and the work of AFRICOM. “We want to encourage the
members of AFRICOM, that you are doing a great job and that you are
welcome when you come to Africa,” Trovada said

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