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Cablegate: Somalia: Demarche Request On Unsc Somalia Piracy


DE RUEHC #0491 3470318
O 120311Z DEC 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 129528

1. This is an action cable. Posts are instructed to demarche
host governments at a high level about our draft Security
Council resolution on Somalia piracy currently being debated
in the Security Council. USUN may use points and background
provided in this cable in the experts meeting on the
resolution scheduled for December 11, 2008.


2. The objectives of this demarche are:

-- to convince host countries of the need for new robust
resolution in the Council to combat Somalia piracy;
-- to dispel any myths about our intentions in this
resolution, especially as they pertain to OP4;
-- to answer questions raised by delegates during Thursday's
expert meeting.


3. Over the last six months the United Nations Security
Council (UNSC) has adopted three resolutions on Somalia
piracy. However, during the same time period piracy has
increased exponentially. While we have been impressed with
international efforts to combat Somali piracy to date,
including the launching of the EU anti-piracy operation
Atalanta, clearly much more needs to be done. We believe the
resolution tabled by the United States on Wednesday provides
several key tools the international community could use to
effectively suppress piracy off the Somali coast.
Specifically the resolution encourages the establishment of
an international cooperation mechanism to act as a common
point of contact between states on all aspects of Somali
piracy; provides authority to states and regional
organizations cooperating with the TFG to take all necessary
measures ashore in Somalia, including in its airspace, to
interdict those who are using Somali territory to plan,
facilitate or undertake acts of piracy and armed robbery at
sea; expands efforts to build judicial capacity to prosecute
and incarcerate pirates; and affirms that the existing
Somalia sanctions regime would apply to pirate leaders. We
hope to adopt this resolution at a ministerial-level meeting
of the Security Council on the issue to be held on December
16, 2008.

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4. Posts should draw from the following points to brief all
Security County members on the top two priorities for the
U.S. in our resolution (provided in reftel):

-- Operative Paragraph (OP) 3: At the experts meeting on
Thursday, several states (China, Libya, Vietnam and
Indonesia) spoke in favor of a greater coordinating role for
the UN. We would note that in UNSC resolution 1846 the
Council asked the Secretary-General to report within three
months on what role it may have in battling Somali piracy.
We think it would be unwise to prescribe a lead coordinating
role at this point for the UN before the report is even
published. In the meantime, states involved in anti-piracy
efforts need to coordinate more effectively. The U.S. is
working on a plan to address this need.

-- OP4: Almost all delegations raised some concerns or
questions about this operative paragraph. We very much
understand the concern that comes with authorizing new
authorities along these lines. We would like to set the
record straight on some fundamental questions about our

-- Why are new authorities needed? Over the last six months,
we have seen an exponential growth in piracy off the coast of
Somalia. In recent months we have seen Somali pirates expand
their area of operations further south. The MV Sirius Star
was hijacked 500 nautical miles off the southern Kenyan port
city of Mombassa. Several recent unsuccessful attacks by
Somali pirates have occurred off the coast of Tanzania. The
United States fears that, one reason Somali pirates may be
moving further south is due to the increased international
naval presence off the Somali coast. The entire coast of
Africa from Djibouti to Tanzania is far too great an area to
effectively patrol. One way to avoid simply pushing the
problem southward would be to interdict pirates on land.

-- What type of operations are we looking to conduct? First,
we should note the United States has not taken any decisions
to conduct anti-piracy operations ashore. That said, the
international community would have the following possible
operations available to it: a.) Intelligence, Surveillance,
and Reconnaissance (ISR) Missions: required for increased
situational awareness on pirate activities, locations, and
potential vulnerabilities; b.) Hot pursuit: pursuit ashore
after observing an at sea attack; c.) Prevent Pirates Skiffs
from Getting Underway: action may be taken if known pirates
are observed preparing to get underway; d.) Destruction of
Pirate Infrastructure: such as visible assets such as beached
skiffs, vehicles, weapon caches, etc. This is of course a
non-exhaustive list.

-- What international law would govern our operations? UN
Security Council approval provides sufficient authority to
undertake the actions envisioned in our text.

-- What do we mean by "interdict"? In certain cases, it
might include the capture and transfer of pirates to
appropriate law enforcement authorities, similar to the
situation that might occur if states captured pirates on the
water. However, it can also mean simply the disruption of
pirate activity

-- If raised: The United States does not at this time
envision capturing pirates on land. Somalia currently lacks
the capacity and infrastructure to prosecute suspected
pirates. However, we look forward to working with the
international community and the Security Council to establish
such a mechanism so that Somali pirates captured ashore can
face justice. Somali pirates captured at sea, of course
could continue to be prosecuted under the UN Convention on
the Law of the Sea and the 1988 Convention on the Suppression
of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation.

-- If asked: If suspected pirates are captured ashore, the
expectation would be that participating countries would
transfer the offender to appropriate authorities as soon as
possible, once any necessary agreements or arrangements are
in place (e.g. such as the efforts currently underway in

Point of contact

5. States should report and substantive response to Joseph
J. FitzGerald (at or 202-647-2641).
As always the Department appreciates posts assistance.

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