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Somalia: Call For Greater Action To Fight Piracy

Somalia: UN-Backed Meeting Wraps Up With Call For Greater Action To Fight Piracy

A United Nations-backed meeting concluded today with participants calling for greater cooperation to combat the rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia, emphasizing that a durable solution to the problem requires peace and stability in the war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.

A communiqué issued at the end of the two-day gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, stressed “the importance of enhancing coordination and cooperation in the fight against piracy,” welcoming recent steps taken by nations and organizations to fight the scourge.

The European Union (EU) this week launched Operation Atalanta, an anti-piracy task force seeking to protect merchant ships from pirate attacks off the Somali coast, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been escorting UN World Food Programme (WFP) vessels carrying life-saving aid for the Somali people.

The participants at the Nairobi event also underscored that resolving the piracy issue necessitates having a functioning government in Somalia.

“Somali leaders who impede the stabilization of their country creating conditions to breed and escalate piracy will be individually and collectively” placed under sanctions by the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), also in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

Technical experts discussed piracy on the meeting’s first day, while today, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, and Moses Wetangula, Kenya’s Foreign Minister, chaired a ministerial-level meeting.

Last week, the Security Council called on all countries and regional organizations with the necessary capacity to deploy naval ships and military aircraft off the Somali coast to fight piracy which is impeding UN efforts to feed millions of hungry civilians in the strife-torn country.

In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report within three months on ways to ensure long-term security off the coast of Somalia, notably for WFP deliveries, and on a possible coordination and leadership role for the UN in rallying Member States and regional organizations for such a goal.

Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorizing the use of force, the 15-member body called for the “seizure and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment” used or suspected of being used for piracy, which has recently reached a peak off the coast of the Horn of Africa country with the hijacking of a Ukrainian arms ship and a Saudi oil tanker.

ENDS

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