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Top UN Envoy Speaks Out Against Piracy Off Somali

Top UN Envoy Speaks Out Against Piracy Off Somali Coast

New York, Sep 5 2008 10:10AM

The top United Nations envoy to Somalia today said that he is extremely alarmed by the rise in piracy off the Horn of Africa nation’s coast and deplored the destabilizing effects of the attacks in the region.

“This piracy is increasingly a threat to international navigation and free trade in an already fragile environment,” said Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah. “The millions of dollars in ransom paid to the pirates and their associates inland and overseas has become a multi-million dollar business which threatens stabilityᾠin Puntland and in Somalia as a whole.

Currently, as many as 10 ships are being held by pirates, and local authorities report that trade has been severely obstructed, particularly in the north of the country.

Despite a Security Council resolution passed in June speaking out against acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia which impede the delivery of vital relief supplies, Mr. Ould-Abdallah said that international cooperation is crucial to curbing the continuing attacks.

“We have to work quickly before the level of criminal activity increases and affects ports in neighbouring countries,” he warned. “We must work together to put an end to this terrible scourge.”

In a related development, the Council yesterday welcomed the recent signing of a peace and reconciliation agreement by Somalia’s warring political groups and urged the two sides in the troubled nation to fully implement their commitments under the accord.

The so-called Djibouti Agreement between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) signed on 19 August, “should provide the basis for lasting peace, security and stability for the people of Somalia,” the Council said in a presidential statement.


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