|09PORTLOUIS243||2009-08-03 12:23:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Port Louis|
1. (SBU) On July 29, the Principal Secretary to the President of the
Seychelles, Jean-Paul Adam, informed Charge d'Affaires Virginia
Blaser that on the previous day, the Seychelles Legislative Assembly
had unanimously ratified the proposed Status of Forces Agreement
2. (U) Also on July 29, the local daily "The Seychelles NATION"
reported that two Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)
intervened on the motion to ratify the SOFA, Leader of Government
Business Marie Louise Potter and opposition leader Wavel Ramkalawan.
Potter tabled the motion, asking the Legislative Assembly to ratify
the SOFA. She said that "such an agreement represents a key
component in our fight against piracy, which we never thought would
come so close to us." While Potter's presentation in the
Legislative Assembly was mainly focused on the need to combat
piracy, she also emphasized that the SOFA agreement is based on the
"friendship, respect and historical cooperation that has always
existed between Seychelles and the U.S."
3. (U) Opposition leader Ramkalawan supported the motion, explaining
that the opposition gave its assent because the SOFA "does not
infringe upon the sovereignty" of Seychelles. Ramkalawan added that
Seychelles "must make the most of this agreement and ensure that we
benefit to the maximum."
4. (SBU) The passing of the SOFA has a great deal to do with fear of
piracy and subsequent desire for U.S. military assistance. However,
Post has worked to make passage as easy as possible. Since late
2007, EMBOFFS have lobbied the opposition in order to avoid any
unnecessary delays when SOFA was brought to Parliament. As recently
as May 2009 CDA Blaser lobbied Ramkalawan in a private meeting.
After Ramkalawan received the final SOFA text on 21 July, he
contacted POLOFF several times seeking clarifications. Using SOFA
talking points provided by the interagency, POLOFF was able to
alleviate Ramkalawan's concerns. The SOFA's unanimous passage on
the first attempt resulted in part from such efforts.