|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6221st Meeting (AM)
Piracy off Somali Coast Not Only Criminal, but Very Successful, Security Council
Hears, Cautioned There Could Be No Peace at Sea without Stability on Land
Piracy off the coast of Somalia was not only a criminal activity, but it was, first of all, a very successful business, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Political Office there told the Security Council today.
Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said that, although international naval deployments and the self-protection measures of vessels had reduced the number of successful piracy incidents, attacks continued, with pirates using more sophisticated methods. They were still ready to take risks. The approach to combating piracy could, therefore, not be limited to an international naval force, but must be part of an overall plan to address the root causes.
He stressed that, as piracy was a symptom of wider problems ashore in Somalia, the only sustainable solution would be effective governance, the establishment of the rule of law and security institutions, and the creation of alternative livelihoods in Somalia for stable and inclusive economic growth.
Describing the various efforts of United Nations entities, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), he underlined the importance that any long-term effort to address lawlessness at sea complement current political, security, recovery and development efforts being undertaken by the United Nations and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The representative of Somalia said that the problem of piracy was a symptom of the major problems that had been bedevilling Somalia for nearly two decades, and stressed that the problem, thus, required a concerted and coordinated effort at the international, regional, national and local levels.
He informed the Council that the Transitional Federal Government had established a coastguard body and had already trained 1,000 coastguards. As there was a need for the deployment of some 10,000 coastguards, he said assistance was sought for training and equipment. Noting that, currently, pirates were claiming to protect the Somali coast, he said that the coastguard, if well equipped and trained, could also address illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste, as well as smuggling of arms and illicit drugs.
Agreeing with the Special Representative that, in the long term, the fight against piracy should include addressing its root causes in Somalia itself, Council members stressed that, in the short term, the international naval presence was necessary to protect humanitarian aid provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) and logistical support for AMISOM, as well as of other vessels.
Warning that continued impunity ran counter to deterrence, speakers urged prosecution of piracy suspects and called for assistance to those countries in the region, in particular Kenya and the Seychelles, that were willing to accept those apprehended by international naval forces in order to prosecute them. Implementation of IMO’s Djibouti Code of Conduct in that regard would be helpful.
Participants in the debate also called for greater coordination among those involved in combating piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and on the high seas, in particular between the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia -- established as a contact point between and among States and regional and international organizations on all aspects of combating piracy –- and the International Contact Group on Somalia, headed by the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS).
Echoing the warning of some speakers, the representative of Mexicoemphasized the negative impact of piracy on the sanctions regime in Somalia. It was important in that regard that States and multinational maritime coalitions cooperate with the Monitoring Group on sanctions.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Sweden’s representative announced that the mandate for its naval Operation Atalanta, which provided crucial protection for WFP deliveries and United Nations’ delivery by sea of logistical support for AMISOM, would be extended until the end of 2010.
The representative of the United Kingdom, stressing the importance of addressing the root causes of piracy, said that greater support should be given to the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in its fight against insurgency and also urged for security assistance to Puntland and Somaliland. More of the same determination shown by the international community at sea must be shown on shore.
The representative of the United States said that, in order to combat the profitability of piracy, all States should adopt a firm policy against paying ransom.
As the Seychelles became a hub in the fight against piracy –- it was a vulnerable country directly impacted by the spillover, or piracy, from the instability in Somalia -- its speaker said the Government had signed status of forces agreements with several countries and allowed the United States to station unmanned aerial vehicles on its territory to supplement the multinational military surveillance aircraft already flying from its islands in search of pirates.
It was awaiting promised assistance in its own fight against piracy and would welcome more, he said. It also supported an arrangement in which convicted pirates would serve their sentences in Somalia. However, it was under no illusion that the long-term solution to regional piracy lay in solving Somalia’s unrest and, thus, supported the Secretary-General’s call to strengthen the Somali Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Burkina Faso, Viet Nam, Japan, China, Turkey, Libya, Croatia, Russian Federation, France, Costa Rica, Uganda, Austria, Ukraine, Norway, Philippines and Spain.
The meeting started at 10:20 a.m. and was adjourned at 12:55 p.m.
As the Security Council was to consider piracy and armed robbery in territorial waters and the high seas off the Somali coast, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council resolution 1846 (2008) (document S/2009/590), which provides an assessment of the piracy situation and examines the political, legal and operational activities undertaken by Member States, regional organizations and the United Nations.
According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 306 incidents of piracy and armed robbery were reported worldwide, of which 136 were in the East African area, the report states. During the period of January through September 2009, 300 incidents were reported worldwide, of which 160 occurred in the East African area. Thirty-four ships were hijacked off the coast of Somalia and more than 450 seafarers were taken hostage. Between July and September, two successful hijackings were carried out. The number of attempts dropped from 95 in the second quarter to 26 in the third quarter. Since then, a resurgence in the number of attacks resulted in eight ships and 178 seafarers being held hostage.
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which held its inaugural meeting on 14 January, was established as a contact point between and among States and regional and international organizations on all aspects of combating piracy, in line with resolution 1851 (2008). It is supported by four working groups that cover: military and operational coordination and the establishment of the regional coordination centre; legal issues including the prosecution of suspected pirates, strengthening of shipping awareness; and diplomatic and public information. On 10 September, the Contact Group approved the terms of reference of an international trust fund to help defray prosecution expenses.
The combined efforts of the international naval forces operating off the Somalia coast have significantly increased in the last 11 months, resulting in reduced successful incidents of piracy. Three multinational maritime coalitions have been contributing to the fight against piracy: the European Union Naval Force Operation “Atalanta”; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); and the United States-led Combined Maritime Forces -- currently, CTF-151. Several Member States have acted independently. The primary mechanism that successfully brings together the naval forces is the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) group.
The Operation Atalanta Maritime Security Centre -– Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) is a civil-military coordination centre with the task of safeguarding merchant shipping operations in the region. Mercury, an innovative military communications system recently developed, allows the naval forces in the region to communicate in real time. Other cooperative frameworks include the Maritime Liaison Office, which facilitates the exchange of information between the Combined Maritime Forces and the commercial maritime community in the Middle East.
There is also the IMO Djibouti Code of Conduct, which addresses shared operations, such as nominating law enforcement officials to embark on patrol ships or aircraft of another signatory, the report notes. Activities will be funded through the Djibouti Code trust fund. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is supporting law enforcement in the region by: increasing the exchange of intelligence; building regional police capacity; and cooperating with other international and regional organizations.
Turning to the root causes of piracy in the area, the report notes that the Transitional Federal Government law enforcement officials have conducted a comprehensive security sector assessment. In addition to training and technical assistance to the Somali coastguard, the Transitional Federal Government has requested assistance for providing for viable livelihoods in the coastal communities concerned in terms of educational and training facilities and cold storage facilities for fish catches. On 23 August, representatives of the Government and of “Puntland” agreed on cooperation in the fight against piracy. The report also describes activities carried out by authorities in “Puntland” and “ Somaliland”, as well as the activities of the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) and the United Nations country team.
The report goes on to say that the United Nations Integrated Task Force for Somalia has established a sub-working group to address piracy in the region, which acts as a clearing house for information with the Contact Group, leverages the comparative advantages of different entities and avoids duplication of activities. It brings together all the relevant United Nations entities, including IMO, as well as INTERPOL and the Somalia Monitoring Group. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations plays a key role in the sharing of relevant naval information with Member States and international organizations.
In his report, the Secretary-General observes that, although one of the ways to ensure the long-term security of international navigation in the area was through stabilizing the situation ashore, as pirates have become more sophisticated in their methods of attack, the expanding maritime presence at present plays a critical role in stabilizing the situation at sea. The various military operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, however, necessitate a lead role and coordination arrangements that go beyond the operational capacity and resources of the United Nations Secretariat.
The Secretary-General trusts that coordination efforts such as SHADE will continue to integrate the military efforts at sea with concrete preventive measures on land. He encourages contributing States and multinational organizations to consider how those considerable military forces could contribute to further capacity-building measures to address the root causes of piracy. Coordination between the international community and the Somali authorities will be crucial in order to successfully combat piracy and its root causes. Noting the burden on regional States, especially Kenya, for prosecuting suspected pirates, the Secretary-General urges the international community to provide assistance, including technical assistance and correction facilities.
It will be crucial for the Somali authorities to re-establish their security institutions and the rule of law and to provide sustainable livelihoods in order to address the root causes of piracy, the Secretary-General says. Corruption from all sources, including human trafficking and the smuggling of illegal commodities, needs to be eliminated to effectively counter piracy.
Efforts to increase security of the ports in Somalia have demonstrated a tangible counter-piracy effect, and he encourages Member States and regional organizations to coordinate efforts to assist the Transitional Federal Government to strengthen port security. Any long-term effort to address lawlessness at sea should complement the current political, security, recovery and development efforts carried out by the United Nations and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The Secretary-General encourages the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to continue coordinating with the International Contact Group on Somalia chaired by his Special Representative, and reiterates that “piracy is a symptom of a wider problem ashore in Somalia and that the only sustainable solution will be the effective governance, the establishment of the rule of law and security institutions, and in the creation of alternative livelihoods in Somalia for stable and inclusive economic growth”.
The Council discussed the situation in Somalia last on 8 October (see Press Release SC/9761).
AHMEDOU OULD-ABDALLAH, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), said piracy was, first of all, very successful business, with outlets in the region and beyond. It was very important to see it as a criminal activity. Deployment of naval ships to suppress piracy and armed robbery at sea and the self-protection of ships had reduced the number of successful incidents. The naval forces were playing a critical role in stabilizing the situation at sea, and, thus, the number of attacks would increase if the naval protection was reduced.
He said that despite that presence, attacks continued, with more sophisticated methods. The perpetrators were still ready to take risks. The approach to combating piracy could not be limited to an international naval force. The fight must be part of an overall plan that included building regional capacity and addressing root causes. Regional capacity-building was carried out through the IMO and the Djibouti Code of Conduct, aimed at establishing a cooperation framework in the region. Root causes were addressed by UNPOS.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had been providing assistance to regional States in the prosecution of suspected pirates arrested by international forces, as they could not be prosecuted in Somalia. Through the delivery of support to the police and prison system in Kenya and the Seychelles, the UNODC was creating the conditions in which the arresting States were content to pass suspects over for trial, and improving overall justice standards. The United Nations also planned to implement high-impact interventions in Puntland and had been working closely with INTERPOL in intelligence-sharing, building regional police capacity and cooperation with other international and regional organizations.
He welcomed the proposal by they Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to establish a blockade of known ports that were supporting piracy.
He stressed the importance that any long-term effort to address lawlessness at sea be complementary to the current political, security, recovery and development efforts already being undertaken by the United Nations and AMISOM. He welcomed, in that connection, the intention of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to coordinate its initiatives with the International Contact Group on Somalia.
In conclusion, he said piracy was a symptom of wider problems ashore in Somalia. The only sustainable solution would be effective governance, the establishment of the rule of law and security institutions and the creation of alternative livelihoods in Somalia for stable and inclusive economic growth.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) expressed appreciation for the work of the United Nations and the Contact Group in countering piracy. He said that the level of coordination of international naval forces was impressive and unprecedented and had produced results in suppressing piracy and safeguarding essential shipping. However, the challenge should not be underestimated, as the overall number of attacks continued to increase. Measures led by intelligence were needed to counter the widening range of the pirates, and merchant shipping must adhere to the guidelines that had been instituted.
He paid tribute to Kenya on taking forward the prosecution of pirates, and the Seychelles for its willingness to take in piracy suspects for trial, and he urged that security assistance be given to Puntland and Somaliland for their efforts in the fight. He noted that, to address the situation on land, the Contact Group had agreed on a number of priority measures, and he urged international support for those. The roots of instability in Somalia must be addressed effectively, which meant, among other efforts, greater support for the Government against insurgents. More of the same determination shown by the international community at sea must be shown on shore, he concluded.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) said that the scourge of piracy affected the whole world and showed no sign of abating, and were widening in geographical scope. International coordination had indeed produced results, and she commended the various initiatives, as well as the efforts of individual States. She also praised the role that the United Nations had played in that area.
In further efforts, it was important to renew the role of relevant authorities as authorized in previous Council resolutions, she said, adding that information and best practices must continue to be shared. Additionally, all States should sign the New York Declaration on maritime practices and adopt a firm policy against ransom so that piracy was not profitable. Finally, it was important to assure the prosecution of piracy, and she commended Kenya on its efforts in that regard. She affirmed that it was crucial to restore stability on land in Somalia, and she pledged her country’s commitment to continue to work with the Transitional Federal Government on counter-piracy efforts and other initiatives.
MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said that piracy off the Somali coast remained of great concern, given the increase in the number of attacks, and he welcomed the initiatives of the Somali authorities, notably those of the region of Puntland, against the scourge. He urged them to keep up their fight against impunity. He also welcomed the mobilization of the international community, including the creation of the Contact Group and the entry into force of the Djibouti Code of Conduct for the suppression of piracy in the region.
He stressed that the legal regime being created to fight piracy emanating from Somalia should not replace the provisions of the United Nations Law of the Sea. He urged that the spirit of solidarity that had been shown in fighting piracy be applied to factors destabilizing Somalia. The initiatives against the scourge should be broadened, therefore, to wider multilateral and bilateral security assistance to the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) said enhanced coordination among the international stakeholders, regional organizations and the Transitional Federal Government was crucial to prevent piracy and armed robbery at sea. The Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia supported by its four working groups was an effective international cooperation mechanism on all aspects of the fight. Recent coordination between that Contact Group and the International Contact Group on Somalia had produced tangible results. Full implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct would enable States in the region to develop appropriate regulatory and legislative frameworks to combat piracy.
He said anti-piracy activities by the Transitional Federal Government continued to face challenges, including a lack of capacity. He, therefore, called on the international community and regional organizations to provide technical and financial assistance to Somalia. He commended the efforts of the European Union and States acting in their national capacity in cooperation with the Transitional Federal Government and each other to suppress piracy and to protect vulnerable ships, including those transporting humanitarian aid to Somalia and United Nations supplies to AMISOM. He commended the efforts undertaken by the Government of Kenya to prosecute suspected pirates captured by the international community and urged States to provide the Government with the logistical and financial support.
YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said piracy disrupting essential United Nations activities such as the delivery of food assistance by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the logistical support to AMISOM should not be tolerated. The fragile security situation in Somalia produced a fertile ground for piracy, and the instability caused by piracy, in turn, affected the situation on land. International efforts and assistance must, therefore, be directed towards both the unstable conditions in south-central Somalia, in particular Mogadishu, and counter-piracy activities along the coastline. Regarding the various activities to combat piracy, he said the challenge was how to enhance coordination to more effectively counter pirates who were always changing their tactics. Japan deployed two naval vessels and two maritime patrol aircrafts.
He said that, together with the global efforts, strong engagement and coordination were indispensable at the regional level. The international trust fund to assist the activities of the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia must become operational in a timely manner. Japan had contributed $13.6 million to the Djibouti Code of Conduct trust fund. A long-term solution, however, would require restoring stability and governance in Somalia. It was crucial to strengthen AMISOM and Somali security institutions in south-central Somalia. There was also a need to advance stability capacity and socio-economic development outside the area of south-central Somalia, including Puntland. Coordination between the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and the International Contact Group should be improved.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) supported international efforts against piracy through an integrated approach, noting that his country had provided an escort flotilla and other contributions and would continue to cooperate with international efforts. It was essential, however, that all efforts in that area comply with international law applicable to the sea and maritime commerce, and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of littoral States, particularly Somalia. In that context, it was crucial to support the return of stability in Somalia, even though political reconciliation had been stagnant. International efforts should, therefore, be increased on the political and security fronts.
He said that regional States should be supported to help the piracy fight, and regional initiatives should be encouraged. To put an effective end to pirate attacks, escort operations should be expanded and better coordinated. China had recently hosted a meeting for that purpose and was prepared to continue making its contributions.
ERTUGRUL APAKAN ( Turkey) said that it was crucial to robustly confront the challenge of increasing piracy and said that the Contact Group should continue to play a leading role in those efforts. As the lack of capacity to detain and prosecute pirates was one of the greatest challenges in that regard, he suggested that a new mechanism be put in place in the region for that purpose, and he proposed that the new trust fund be utilized in the effort.
He welcomed the activities of the SHADE group, along with the contributions of INTERPOL, and he described Turkey’s contributions to international efforts against piracy, including the provision of naval elements that had already apprehended 30 piracy suspects. He affirmed the crucial need to restore stability in Somalia to fight piracy, through security support to the Transitional Government and AMISOM, among other efforts.
IBRAHIM DABBASHI ( Libya) said piracy was a natural result of the deteriorated security situation in Somalia and the absence of a government. Eliminating the problem could not be done only through dispatching naval forces, but required a more comprehensive and integrated approach. One of the means to guarantee the security of marine navigation would emanate from achieving stability on the ground through development, and establishing the rule of law and supporting the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM. A solution also included building the capacity of judicial institutions at the national and local levels in the region, in order to prosecute pirates, as well as strictly conforming to the arms embargo. The waters off the coast of Somalia should also be protected against illegal fishing activities.
He encouraged the international community to continue to send naval forces and to offer the Transitional Federal Government technical assistance. The international community should also contribute to the trust fund, aimed at providing assistance in the prosecution of pirates.
GUILLERMO PUENTE ( Mexico) said piracy was a challenge requiring urgent action by the Transitional Federal Government, countries in the region and the international community. The cooperation, commitment of and the laudable work done by many countries had led to a common front, but the number of attacks was higher now than in 2008. He was concerned at the increase of incidents in recent days, as well as the fact that smaller vessels had been attacked. At the same time, he commended the efforts of the Transitional Federal Government to achieve greater coordination with Puntland and Somaliland, as well as the Atalanta operation for its protection of the WFP and AMISOM shipments. He welcomed the creation of the trust fund of the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and efforts made to combat impunity.
In that connection, he said those responsible for acts of piracy must be brought to justice, in accordance with relevant international standards. The IMO had done commendable work by creating guidelines, and the Djibouti Code of Conduct must be implemented swiftly. Piracy was not an isolated phenomenon, but was linked to the situation in the country. Solutions should include development, strengthening of security institutions and capacity-building. He emphasized the negative impact of piracy on the sanctions regime in Somalia, which undermined national security. It was important that States and multinational maritime coalitions cooperate with the Monitoring Group on sanctions.
VICE SKRACIC ( Croatia), aligning his statement with that of the European Union, said that piracy remained one of the burning issues in regard to Somalia, but support to the Djibouti Peace Agreement and Somali stability was just as important. There could be no peace in the seas off of Somalia without stability on land. He welcomed the continuing strong commitment to the Transitional Federal Government and supported extension of Somali sovereignty on its land and off its coast.
He also welcomed additional coordinating efforts among international endeavours to fight piracy and support Somali stability, and commended the Government of Kenya for its activities in countering piracy and prosecuting pirates. He called for the implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct and greater support for regional capacity building.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said it was time for an interim assessment on the fight against piracy, noting that the situation in the Gulf of Aden was far from normal, despite the impressive international initiatives. A greater focus on stabilizing the situation in Somalia itself was, therefore, needed, with greater support to implement the Djibouti Agreement and assistance to the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM.
He stressed the key role of the Contact Group and the IMO, calling for a further strengthening of the United Nations role, following its important contributions in the past year. Building regional capacity in prosecution was also important, including studies on international mechanisms that could complement international efforts. Describing his country’s contributions to anti-piracy efforts, he supported the extension of sanctions and comprehensive measures to halt piracy at sea, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions.
GERARD ARAUD ( France) said piracy was still a threat to the people of Somalia, as half of them were dependent on international aid delivered by ship. It was also a threat to providing supplies to the AMISOM troops and imperilled international shipping. Insecurity, the lack of a State and of economic opportunities had created the conditions for piracy. In the short term, resolute action by the international community was required to address the issue. In that regard, the European Union, through Operation Atalanta, was playing an essential role, as were regional organizations and national partners. France played its part through Atalanta and nationally. The Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia was playing an essential role in improving coordination, and SHADE made it possible to enhance information exchange.
He said that all of those efforts were beginning to bear fruit, and many attacks were being foiled. The Union had committed itself to continue Atalanta through December 2010 and was considering increasing its sphere of action. France had provided aid to the Seychelles, in order to enable that country to accept pirates apprehended by Atalanta. He supported extension of relevant Council mandates. Apart from the military aspect, however, it was essential that the legal framework for acts of piracy be improved. The deep-rooted causes of piracy must be addressed directly, and the Union had indicated it might enhance its support to the Transitional Federal Government in order to help it combat illegal fishing.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said that combating piracy and armed robbery off the Horn of Africa had led to the implementation of creative mechanisms of countries and navies, resulting in a drop in the number of attacks. He doubted, however, whether those achievements could be sustained, given that piracy had become big business, with complex transnational support structures. It was important to develop legal procedures for prosecuting suspects. Combating impunity should be a deterrence, for which the international community’s assistance was necessary, as was implementation of the Djibouti Code of Conduct.
He said that piracy in Somalia was a symptom of a deeper crisis in the country. A long-term strategy to address that issue should include humanitarian, security and development dimensions. The Transitional Federal Government should receive continued support to provide a framework for security, forge national reconciliation and establish an inclusive political process. There was also a need to further develop the rule of law and provide proper training for Somali security forces. Humanitarian assistance must be ensured, and development would, in turn, ensure sustainable economic activity in Somalia. He urged States and donors to continue contributing to the various trust funds.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said the efforts made to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia were commendable, but the struggle against piracy would not be won on the high seas, but rather on land. The enormous level of resources expended on offshore solutions probably ran into billions of dollars per year. The number of incidence had been checked as a result. Yet, piracy would persist as long as mainland Somalia remained unstable and State institutions remained fragile.
To deal with the problem of piracy, he said, robust measures on land must match those being taken at sea, backed by equal, if not greater, resources. Those measures should include enhanced support to AMISOM to enable the force to implement its mandate, including with additional personnel to enable it to reach its authorized capacity of 8,000 troops. Equally importantly, the Transitional Government must be given the support to strengthen the State institutions, particularly in the security sector. “Strengthening State institutions is the most effective durable way of combating piracy”, he stated.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), aligning himself with the statement to be made by Sweden on behalf of the European Union, concurred with the importance of restoring stability and development in Somalia in order to end piracy, but stressed that piracy also contributed to the deterioration of conditions in the country. He commended international cooperation in countering piracy, and stressed the importance of applying all existing international law in deterring, detaining and prosecuting pirates, as well as the importance of supporting States in the region to play their part in that effort, welcoming the creation of a trust fund for that purpose.
ELMI AHMED DUALE ( Somalia) expressed his concern at and conveyed his sympathy to all the crews and the two British citizens who were still at the mercy of the pirates. The problem of piracy was a symptom of the major problems that had been bedevilling Somalia for nearly two decades. The problem required a concerted, coordinated effort at the international, regional, national and local levels. He announced that Somalia had created a coastguard body and had already trained 1,000 coastguards. The plan was to train and deploy up to 10,000 coastguards, but the Government needed further assistance for training and equipment to enhance the coastguard’s effectiveness. In that way, it could better control the fight against piracy at the local levels, as well as illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waist and the smuggling of arms and illicit drugs.
He hoped the Council would, as requested, renew the relevant mandates for 12 months. His Government was sincerely grateful to those regional and international organizations and States that had assisted the country. He also expressed thanks for the support received so far from IGAD and AMISOM. He echoed the call by Council member statements regarding support for the Transitional Federal Government to enable it to control the ports of Somalia against piracy and any illegal fishing or dumping of toxic waste, noting that pirates were claiming that they defended the coast off Somalia against it.
ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that continuing naval operations off the coast of Somalia had improved the security at sea and safeguarded the delivery of international aid. The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia had ensured policy cooperation and coordination, and SHADE, an efficient mechanism, had been established to coordinate the efforts of national, regional and multinational naval forces operating in the area.
However, he said, more could be done to protect vessels. Improvement of the dialogue on maritime issues with local Somali communities was also important, as other illegal activities beyond piracy had to be discussed. Furthermore, the international community should explore legal options on how to try detained pirates because efficient and credible trials of suspected pirates were vital to maintain the progress of the ongoing operations.
The European Union -– through the naval Operation Atalanta -– continued to contribute to maritime security in the area, and had decided to extend the mandate until the end of 2010, he said. Since December last year, Atalanta had provided crucial protection for 50 WFP ships that had delivered roughly 300,000 tons of food, which had ultimately benefited 1.6 million Somalis directly. Piracy affected the safe delivery of aid to 3.8 million people in need, and it was in the interest of Somalia, the region and the international community to address that menace in that country’s waters. “Together”, he said, “we can do that.”
YURIY SERGEYEV (Ukraine), aligning himself with the statement made by the European Union, said that, as the challenge of piracy had become global, the United Nations should play a leading role in its suppression, and he welcomed actions taken by the Council on the matter. He also commended the activity of the Contact Group, and looked forward to the early launching of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund to support counter-piracy initiatives. Ukraine stood ready to contribute to the Contact Group in every way practicable.
His country, he said, viewed piracy as a particularly serious matter, as it ranked fifth among countries whose citizens were contracted with the international merchant fleet, and right now 24 Ukrainians were being held hostage by pirates. The decision had been taken to join the European Union Operation Atalanta, and the country was considering intelligence, logistical, military and/or financial support. Welcoming the strong resolve of United Nations Member States, he said his country was ready to host a future event on the issue under the Organization’s auspices. He affirmed that efforts to restore stability in Somalia were crucial to efforts to fight piracy, and pledged Ukraine’s commitment in both areas.
MORTEN WETLAND ( Norway) said that since some 1,000 of Norway’s ships passed through the Gulf of Aden every year, the country was acting accordingly and participating in international efforts to counter the threat of piracy there. To fight piracy, however, it was crucial to bring peace and stability to Somalia and to re-establish effective government institutions in the country, and Norway was doing its part in humanitarian, development and security assistance for that purpose.
He stressed the importance of full implementation of the best management practices adopted by the Contact Group, which Norway would be chairing at its next meeting, and he praised the international cooperation in naval operations, to which his country had provided a frigate. It was now important to ensure that captured pirates were brought to justice, and in that regard, he welcomed the efforts of countries in the region, particularly Kenya and the Seychelles. His country had contributed to the Trust Fund to help increase legal capacity in those countries. He stressed the importance of implementing the Contact Group’s communications strategy, to convince Somalis that operations against piracy were in their interest and to counter any notion that piracy was just.
LESLIE GATAN ( Philippines) said his country was gravely concerned over the resurgence of piracy, since it supplied approximately a third of the world’s shipping manpower with about 270,000 Filipino seafarers onboard international shipping vessels and 120 out of 300 hostages taken by pirates in the first quarter of this year from the country. Recognizing international efforts taken so far to counter piracy, he looked forward to bolder steps by the Security Council, taking into full consideration the safety of the lives of hostages.
In that context, he fully supported efforts by the United Nations, other organizations and concerned countries to assist in the stabilization of Somalia in partnership with the country’s Transitional Government. His country had offered assistance to strengthen the capabilities of the Somali Coastguard and funds to support Somali security institutions.
RONALD JUMEAU ( Seychelles) said his country was by far the smallest and most vulnerable country to be directly impacted by the spillover -- or piracy -- from the instability in Somalia, which continued to spread east and south in the Indian Ocean. That scourge not only affected freedom of the seas, maritime trade and the security of international shipping lanes, but severely endangered the national security, territorial integrity and economic development of the Seychelles. The country was handicapped in its fight against piracy, having 115 far-flung islands over an “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ) of 1.4 million square miles –- an area larger than France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg combined.
He noted that, despite a population of only 85,000 and limited naval and military resources, the Government had stationed troops on the outlying islands to protect the country’s national security. It was also drafting new anti-piracy legislation and beefing up its coastguard and other relevant institutions within its limited resources. But scarce funds were being diverted from its economic and social development agenda at a time when the country was both losing revenue due to pirate attacks and struggling through difficult, but vital economic reforms, in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Among other things, pirate attacks had caused the number of boats seeking fishing licences in the “EEZ” to decline. Even domestic fishermen feared “putting to sea”. Maritime insurance had shot up, pushing up the cost of living in a country that imported 80 per cent of what it consumed. Some cruise ships had also cancelled their cruises, and sea travel to the most distant islands now had to be done by convoy.
Against that backdrop, the population was watching with a mixed sense of anxiety and reassurance, as the Seychelles became a hub in the fight against piracy, he said. The Government had signed status of forces agreements with several countries and allowed the United States to station unmanned aerial vehicles on its territory to supplement the multinational military surveillance aircraft already flying from its islands in search of pirates. It was awaiting promised assistance in its own fight against piracy and would welcome more. It also supported an arrangement in which convicted pirates would serve their sentences in Somalia. However, it was under no illusion that the long-term solution to regional piracy lay in solving Somalia’s unrest and, thus, supported the Secretary-General’s call to strengthen the Somali Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM.
JUAN ANTONIO YAÑEZ-BARNUEVO ( Spain), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, firmly condemned any act of piracy, supporting international solidarity to fight the scourge. Given the wider range of pirate activity, it was important to increase protection for humanitarian aid and commercial activity.
As one of the States behind the Atalanta initiative, he welcomed further protection of WFP and AMISOM vessels, and supported a strengthened mandate from the Security Council to do so. He thanked regional countries, particularly Kenya and the Seychelles, for the part they had played in counter-piracy efforts, as well as the African Union for its work in Somalia. In that context, he urged increased support for the Transitional Federal Government, for which purpose Spain had recently donated funds. A global strategy for Somalia was needed, and his country was willing to play a large part in related European efforts and to host an international conference towards that goal.
Taking the floor once again, Mr. OULD-ABDALLAH, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNPOS, noted that all speakers had agreed that security on land was crucial to end piracy off Somalia, and to do that it was crucial for donors to make good on pledges. In that context, it was particularly important that Somali police were paid their salaries. Training them without providing them salaries would only make violence on the streets more likely.
He said that the burden of Somali security, in addition, should not be placed solely on AMISOM, and support promised to that Mission should be delivered. He noted that very few countries had contributed funds to the Transitional Federal Government to allow it to survive, and more help was needed. In terms of the political situation, he stressed that the Djibouti Agreement had to be implemented without new arrangements being discussed in external conferences. Further reconciliation should be accomplished inside Somalia itself, he said.
* *** *For information media • not an official record