|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6046th Meeting (PM)
SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES STATES TO USE LAND-BASED OPERATIONS IN SOMALIA,
AS PART OF FIGHT AGAINST PIRACY OFF COAST, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING 1851 (2008)
Secretary-General Briefs on Political, Security, Humanitarian Situations;
Says Anti-Piracy Efforts Must Be in Context of Approach That Fosters Peace Process
The Security Council today decided that, for the next year, States and regional organizations cooperating in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia’s coast -- for which prior notification had been provided by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to the Secretary-General -- could undertake all necessary measures “appropriate in Somalia”, to interdict those using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake such acts.
Acting under Chapter VII through the unanimous adoption of United States-led resolution 1851 (2008), the Council called on those States and organizations able to do so to actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes, following on a 9 December 2008 letter from the Transitional Federal Government for international assistance to counter the surge in piracy and armed robbery there.
The Council invited all such States and regional organizations to conclude special agreements or arrangements with countries willing to take custody of pirates in order to embark law enforcement officials, known as “shipriders”, from the latter countries to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of persons detained as a result of operations conducted under this resolution.
In a related provision, those States and regional organizations were encouraged to establish an international cooperation mechanism to act as a common point of contact among them on all aspects of that fight.
The Council affirmed that the authorization provided in the resolution applied only to the situation in Somalia and did not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, with respect to any other situation. It underscored that the resolution did not establish customary international law.
Following adoption of the resolution, the Secretary-General, briefing the Council on the political and security situation, said he shared the deep concern of Member States at the escalation of piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast and he welcomed the Council’s actions, adding that he was particularly impressed by the actions of Member States and international organizations to pool their efforts and resources to fight that scourge.
However, he said that everyone must be mindful that piracy was a symptom of the state of anarchy that had persisted in Somalia for more than 17 years. Anti‑piracy efforts, therefore, must be placed in the context of a comprehensive approach that fostered an inclusive peace process in Somalia and assisted the parties to rebuild security, governance capacity, addressed human rights issues and harnessed economic opportunities throughout the country.
He appealed to the leaders and Somali people to give peace a chance and put the 17 years of war behind them, and to the international community to send a positive signal today to the Somali people and the African Union that it was willing to provide a security path that would complement the political compromises reached through the Djibouti process, he said, adding “we must act before it is too late”.
Turning to security arrangements, he stressed that the most appropriate response to the complex security challenges in Somalia was a multinational force, rather than a typical peacekeeping operation. But, in the absence of adequate pledges for a multinational force, he would propose to the Council three concrete measures that would provide the necessary security arrangements in support of the Djibouti process. If successful, those would pave the way for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, in keeping with resolution 1814 (2008).
The objective was to stabilize Somalia and find a durable solution to the crisis in that country, and he said he was of the view that strengthening the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through, among other things, the provision of financing, logistical support, necessary training and equipment and other reinforcements, facilitated by the United Nations and Member States, was the realistic option at present. He was, however, continuing contingency planning for the deployment of a fully fledged United Nations peacekeeping operation at the appropriate time and under the right conditions, and he would soon provide a detailed report to the Council covering those proposals.
Today’s resolution won unanimous support, with most Council members saying they had voted in favour of the text because they sought robust action to address that serious threat off Somalia’s coast and they welcomed the practical measures that had been agreed. The need to address the root of the piracy problem -- namely the poverty and lawlessness that had plagued Somalia for decades -- and to not look at it through the prism of international trade alone was also emphasized. Still other speakers underscored that actions to combat the dangerous phenomenon must conform to international law standards, including the Law of the Sea Convention.
The Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, whose mission had been on the ground in Somalia for the past two years, said the twin problems of piracy and terrorism were a symptom of a larger problem: lawlessness in south central Somalia, which must be addressed. He cautioned that, if Somalia were allowed to sink, while partners in the international community were mobilizing tremendous assets to combat piracy, world security would be severely undermined.
He called for additional political support for AMISOM and reiterated his support for a fully fledged United Nations peacekeeping mission in Somalia as soon as possible, which would incorporate an enhanced AMISOM. He urged the Council to take decisive steps to avoid a security vacuum, pledging that the African Union was ready to make additional sacrifices in Somalia, within the context of more effective international support.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia said his country had no capacity to interdict or patrol its long coastline to ensure the security of the sea, but it had cooperated with the international community in that fight and it would continue to do so fully, now and in the future. That was why it supported resolution 1851.
However, he stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive and holistic strategy to the Somalia problem -- as piracy and terrorism and the humanitarian emergency were part of the whole problem that existed since the collapse of the Government in 1991. If that premise was accepted, there should be no difficulty in seeing a real way to tackling piracy and real instability in his country.
The most effective way was for the Security Council to take immediate measures, hopefully before the end of the year, when AMISOM’s mandate was to be reviewed -- to authorize a robust peacekeeping operation, he asserted. The undermanned AMISOM contingent could become the nucleus of that new United Nations force. The aim should be to strengthen the Somali State by strengthening its security forces through the provision of forces, training and equipment.
Explanations of vote after adoption of the resolution were made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, as well as the representatives of Indonesia, Viet Nam and Costa Rica.
Statements in the debate that followed the Secretary-General’s briefing were made by the following Council members: Prime Minister of Croatia, in his national capacity (his delegation holds the Council’s rotating presidency for December), and the United States Secretary of State, along with the representatives of Italy, France, Belgium, Libya, South Africa, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Viet Nam and Panama.
Also participating were the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, as well as representatives of Greece, Turkey, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Yemen, Egypt and India.
The Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States also spoke.
The meeting began at 3:19 p.m. and was adjourned at 6:48 p.m.
The Security Council met today to consider the situation in Somalia. It had before it a draft resolution (document S/2008/789), sponsored by Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Liberia, Panama, Republic of Korea and the United States, which reads, as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions concerning the situation in Somalia, especially resolutions 1814 (2008), 1816 (2008), 1838 (2008), 1844 (2008), and 1846 (2008),
“Continuing to be gravely concerned by the dramatic increase in the incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia in the last six months, and by the threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels pose to the prompt, safe and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, and noting that pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have become more sophisticated and daring and have expanded in their geographic scope, notably evidenced by the hijacking of the M/V Sirius Star 500 nautical miles off the coast of Kenya and subsequent unsuccessful attempts well east of Tanzania,
“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, including Somalia’s rights with respect to offshore natural resources, including fisheries, in accordance with international law,
“Further reaffirming that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (UNCLOS), sets out the legal framework applicable to combating piracy and armed robbery at sea, as well as other ocean activities,
“Again taking into account the crisis situation in Somalia, and the lack of capacity of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to interdict, or upon interdiction to prosecute pirates or to patrol and secure the waters off the coast of Somalia, including the international sea lanes and Somalia’s territorial waters,
“Noting the several requests from the TFG for international assistance to counter piracy off its coast, including the letter of 9 December 2008 from the President of Somalia requesting the international community to assist the TFG in taking all necessary measures to interdict those who use Somali territory and airspace to plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, and the 1 September 2008 letter from the President of Somalia to the Secretary-General of the UN expressing the appreciation of the TFG to the Security Council for its assistance and expressing the TFG’s willingness to consider working with other States and regional organizations to combat piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia,
“Welcoming the launching of the EU operation Atalanta to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia and to protect vulnerable ships bound for Somalia, as well as the efforts by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and other States acting in a national capacity in cooperation with the TFG to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia,
“Also welcoming the recent initiatives of the Governments of Egypt, Kenya, and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to achieve effective measures to remedy the causes, capabilities, and incidents of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia, and emphasizing the need for current and future counter-piracy operations to effectively coordinate their activities,
“Noting with concern that the lack of capacity, domestic legislation, and clarity about how to dispose of pirates after their capture, has hindered more robust international action against the pirates off the coast of Somalia and in some cases led to pirates being released without facing justice, and reiterating that the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (“SUA Convention”) provides for parties to create criminal offences, establish jurisdiction, and accept delivery of persons responsible for or suspected of seizing or exercising control over a ship by force or threat thereof or any other form of intimidation,
“Welcoming the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia of 20 November 2008 (S/2008/769), and noting the role piracy may play in financing embargo violations by armed groups,
“Determining that the incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the waters off the coast of Somalia exacerbate the situation in Somalia which continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Reiterates that it condemns and deplores all acts of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in waters off the coast of Somalia;
“2. Calls upon States, regional and international organizations that have the capacity to do so, to take part actively in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, in particular, consistent with this resolution, resolution 1846 (2008), and international law, by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft and through seizure and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment used in the commission of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, or for which there are reasonable grounds for suspecting such use;
“3. Invites all States and regional organizations fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia to conclude special agreements or arrangements with countries willing to take custody of pirates in order to embark law enforcement officials (“shipriders”) from the latter countries, in particular countries in the region, to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of persons detained as a result of operations conducted under this resolution for acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, provided that the advance consent of the TFG is obtained for the exercise of third state jurisdiction by shipriders in Somali territorial waters and that such agreements or arrangements do not prejudice the effective implementation of the SUA Convention;
“4. Encourages all States and regional organizations fighting piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia to establish an international cooperation mechanism to act as a common point of contact between and among states, regional and international organizations on all aspects of combating piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia’s coast; and recalls that future recommendations on ways to ensure the long-term security of international navigation off the coast of Somalia, including the long-term security of WFP maritime deliveries to Somalia and a possible coordination and leadership role for the United Nations in this regard to rally Member States and regional organizations to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia are to be detailed in a report by the Secretary-General no later than three months after the adoption of resolution 1846;
“5. Further encourages all states and regional organizations fighting piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia to consider creating a centre in the region to coordinate information relevant to piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, to increase regional capacity with assistance of UNODC to arrange effective shiprider agreements or arrangements consistent with UNCLOS and to implement the SUA Convention, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and other relevant instruments to which States in the region are party, in order to effectively investigate and prosecute piracy and armed robbery at sea offences;
“6. In response to the letter from the TFG of 9 December 2008, encourages Member States to continue to cooperate with the TFG in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea, notes the primary role of the TFG in rooting out piracy and armed robbery at sea, and decides that for a period of twelve months from the date of adoption of resolution 1846, States and regional organizations cooperating in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia for which advance notification has been provided by the TFG to the Secretary-General may undertake all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia, for the purpose of suppressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, pursuant to the request of the TFG, provided, however, that any measures undertaken pursuant to the authority of this paragraph shall be undertaken consistent with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law;
“7. Calls on Member States to assist the TFG, at its request and with notification to the Secretary-General, to strengthen its operational capacity to bring to justice those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, and stresses that any measures undertaken pursuant to this paragraph shall be consistent with applicable international human rights law;
“8. Welcomes the communiqué issued by the International Conference on Piracy around Somalia held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 11 December 2008 and encourages Member States to work to enhance the capacity of relevant states in the region to combat piracy, including judicial capacity;
“9. Notes with concern the findings contained in the 20 November 2008 report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia that escalating ransom payments are fuelling the growth of piracy in waters off the coast of Somalia, and that the lack of enforcement of the arms embargo established by resolution 733 (1992) has permitted ready access to the arms and ammunition used by the pirates and driven in part the phenomenal growth in piracy;
“10. Affirms that the authorization provided in this resolution apply only with respect to the situation in Somalia and shall not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including any rights or obligations under UNCLOS, with respect to any other situation, and underscores in particular that this resolution shall not be considered as establishing customary international law, and affirms further that such authorizations have been provided only following the receipt of the 9 December 2008 letter conveying the consent of the TFG;
“11. Affirms that the measures imposed by paragraph 5 of resolution 733 (1992) and further elaborated upon by paragraphs 1 and 2 or resolution 1425 (2002) shall not apply to weapons and military equipment destined for the sole use of Member States and regional organizations undertaking measures in accordance with paragraph 6 above;
“12. Urges States in collaboration with the shipping and insurance industries, and the IMO to continue to develop avoidance, evasion, and defensive best practices and advisories to take when under attack or when sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia, and further urges States to make their citizens and vessels available for forensic investigation as appropriate at the first port of call immediately following an act or attempted act of piracy or armed robbery at sea or release from captivity;
“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”
Action on Text
The draft resolution contained in document S/2008/789, to be issued as S/RES/1851 (2008), was adopted unanimously.
In explanation of vote, SERGEY LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that, in the twenty-first century, the international community was taking up new challenges, as well as dealing with old ones, such as piracy. The twenty-first century pirates were well organized and equipped; their actions were increasingly bold and their demands outrageous. Accounts came almost daily, and offshore Somalia was a serious threat to seafarers and passengers, alike, making it difficult to provide international humanitarian aid and leading to serious economic losses for many States. That had compelled the international community to act decisively.
He said that the problem had been the recent focus of Council attention, which had already done “quite a lot”. In addition to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea were resolutions creating a legislative base for action to ensure the security of shipping in the region. All sent a message about the need to solve piracy -- an extremely complicated problem. It was important that Security Council resolutions be based on international law and not designed to change it. For the Russian Federation, a maritime Power, security of shipping was of the utmost importance. The Russian Navy had become involved in efforts under resolution 1816 to counter piracy off the Somali coast. More than 30 Russian and foreign ships had recently been involved in thwarting several attacks. They would leave the area soon, but Russia would continue working with partners to combat piracy.
Many States and organizations had responded, and he highlighted the activity of countries in the region and of the European Union, as well as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), whose expertise would be increasingly in demand. Machinery would be needed to coordinate international actions. Unfortunately, piracy went unpunished. He thus called for the more active use of international legal instruments, taking account the specifics of each situation. The resolution just adopted was an important decision made on the request of the Transitional Federal Government, whose representative was here today. It should not be forgotten, however, that piracy was just the “tip of the iceberg” of the problems facing Somalia today. That problem would not likely be resolved by force alone, but required economic, political and social stabilization.
Offering first an explanation of vote, DAVID MILIBAND, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said he had voted in favour of resolution because he supported robust action to address that serious threat off Somalia’s coast. The authorization conferred by paragraph 6 to permit States cooperating with the Transitional Federal Government to use all necessary measures to suppress piracy enabled States and regional organizations to act with force, if necessary, on land in Somalia. That was an important additional tool to combat piracy. Any use of force, however, must be both necessary and proportionate.
Turning to piracy and wider issues, he said he was grateful to United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for tabling the resolution and for securing its unanimous support. Among other things, combating piracy off the Somali coast was essential for the delivery of humanitarian supplies for the Somali people. All relevant actors were playing a role in seeking to secure World Food Programme (WFP) vessels and, where possible, disrupting attacks. Military cooperation was also important on that difficult issue, and the IMO would have an important role.
He said he welcomed the practical measures that were agreed in the resolution today. As the Russian Federation delegate had intimated, one should not look at the piracy issue through the prism of international trade, alone; the political, humanitarian and security situations in Somalia carried real risk. The Djibouti process had opened a new chapter. It was Somali-owned, but the Council had a responsibility to do what it could to support it. He hoped all those engaged in negotiations would do everything necessary to turn the process into practical reality and great effort should be made towards garnering a practical commitment from all forces.
From the United Kingdom’s point of view, there were two major areas of uncertainty, he noted. One concerned political uncertainty, and the other related to the security situation. In respect of the political uncertainty, he said that political steps were needed to light the way forward, including an orderly transition to a government of national unity. At the same time, major questions related to the security situation. He looked forward to learning the views of the range of members on their understanding of intentions in the region, the future of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), and the security needs in Somalia. The history of intervention in Somalia had many important lessons for all, which the United Kingdom intended to address.
In explanation of vote, HE YAFEI, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said his country had been a victim of the piracy, with six vessels attacked. Piracy was threatening international peace and security. He welcomed international cooperation in combating the scourge, pursuant to Council resolutions. China was considering sending warships to contribute to the fight in the near future.
He said it was crucial to allow the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to play its full role in the efforts against piracy. He stressed that all operations must be conducted in compliance with the Law of the Sea Convention and respect for national sovereignty in the region, and that different tracks and different phases must be identified as the situation developed. In addition, he maintained that the key to ending piracy lay with the people and Government of Somalia; their capacity to play that role must be strengthened. Regional arrangements were also important, as was addressing the root causes of the piracy. For that purpose, he urged that international support be provided towards the full implementation of the Djibouti Agreement, as well as for humanitarian assistance. China would continue to contribute to those efforts.
MARTY NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia), in explanation of vote, condemned all acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and welcomed the regional efforts that had arisen to combat it. His country had actively participated in negotiated Council resolutions on the issue. It was important, however, to acknowledge that piracy was not a stand-alone problem, but a symptom of the lawlessness and anarchy in the territory of Somalia that needed to be addressed urgently. For that reason, he reiterated his strong support to the political process under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and urged the full implementation of the Djibouti Agreement. He also called for additional support for AMISOM.
In the immediate term, he welcomed Member States’ efforts to combat piracy and said that the United Nations and littoral States should play a strong coordinating role. He stressed that those efforts should be undertaken in full compliance with international law, in particular the Convention on the Law of the Sea and Council resolution 1846.
HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam), in explanation of vote, said he had voted in favour of the resolution on the basis of the request of the Transitional Government of Somalia. Measures taken under the resolution must be consistent with respect for the territorial integrity of that country, as well as relevant international treaties, and must not be seen as establishing new international law.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica), in explanation of vote, said he had supported the resolution. The activity off the Somali coast required specific actions on the part of the Security Council. Costa Rica had also supported previous Council resolutions on the matter, namely, 1816, 1838 and 1846, adopted over the past six months. Piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast were a consequence of the crisis, but they did not constitute its root cause. The Council must address the principle cause of the crisis promptly and with the same diligence with which it was addressing its consequences.
He stressed that, for any planned action to combat piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast, the Government’s expressed consent was essential. The Government must always have “the last word” over matters under its direct competence, and actions in that connection must be set in the context of the international legal framework. He would have favoured such a reference at the end of operative paragraph 6, and did not feel that that would have limited the operative portion of the text. He appealed to those States, when implementing this and earlier resolutions, that they do so in close coordination with the Somali Government and in strict compliance with international law.
Briefing by Secretary-General
BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General, said that today’s meeting came at a critical juncture in the continuing tragedy of Somalia. Ethiopia’s statement in a 25 November letter to him that it planned to withdraw its troops from Somalia by the end of the year was consistent with the Djibouti Agreement, but that could easily lead to chaos. The Council and the African Union must work closely together to provide additional support to AMISOM to enhance its capacity to defend itself and to continue to hold strategic areas in Mogadishu, while efforts to build the Somali security structures under the Djibouti process continued. Prime Minister Meles had reiterated to the Ethiopian Parliament his intention to completely withdraw the troops in two weeks.
He said that, if the African Union, scheduled to discuss AMISOM’s renewal on 22 December, did not renew the mandate, the AMISOM forces would likely depart before the Ethiopian forces were withdrawn. He was encouraged, however, by the indication by both Burundi and Uganda that they were prepared to deploy additional battalions to AMISOM if the essential resources were made available.
“All eyes were on the discussion in this chamber to gauge the determination of the international community in response to this danger. Our actions today will be critical to the African Union’s decisions on Somalia next week”, Mr. Ban said.
Turning to the latest political developments in Somalia, he noted that there was a credible political process under way called the “ Djibouti process”. The return of ARS leader Sheikh Sharif and 39 of his members to Mogadishu from their two-year exile had been a promising move, and represented a first step in importing and entrenching the Djibouti peace process. The responsibility to bring peace and stability to the country rested with the Somalis themselves, but the continued feuding within the Transitional Federal Government and the recent division between the President and Prime Minister could jeopardize the peace process and affect the functioning and stability of the Transitional Federal Government. At the same time, he urged the armed groups in Somalia that had cited Ethiopia’s withdrawal as a condition for ending the fighting to now lay down their weapons and join the Djibouti process.
Regarding the humanitarian situation, he said access remained severely restricted, and the level of insecurity for humanitarian workers and the local civilian population was unacceptably high. During this year alone, an estimated 250,000 people had been displaced from Mogadishu. The overall number of internally displaced persons stood at 1.3 million and an average of 5,000 Somali refugees arrived monthly in the refugee camps in Kenya. The number in need of assistance and livelihood support in Somalia stood at 3.2 million. The delivery of such assistance remained a logistical challenge, not least because of piracy, which had increased the cost of transporting supplies.
He said he was deeply concerned about the direct targeting of aid workers and United Nations staff, which had led to the death of four United Nations staff between September and December. The challenges were huge, but humanitarian agencies continued to deliver relief supplies, including in conflict areas. If the security situation deteriorated, access to humanitarian aid would worsen.
Turning to security arrangements, he stressed that the most appropriate response to the complex security challenges in Somalia was a multinational force, rather than a “typical” peacekeeping operation. Such a force should have the full military capabilities required to support the cessation of armed confrontation to stabilize Mogadishu and to defend itself. He had approached 50 countries and three international organizations to request contributions for such a force. “The response has not been encouraging; no Member State has offered to play the lead nation role.”
In the absence of adequate pledges for a multinational force, he said he intended to propose to the Council three concrete measures that would provide the necessary security arrangements in support of the Djibouti process. If successful, those would pave the way for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, in keeping with resolution 1814 (2008).
First, the African Union should be provided with “substantial and credible” resources to reinforce AMISOM, including the means to deploy the additional battalions pledged by Uganda and Burundi. He also suggested that all resources pledged for a multinational force be redirected to AMISOM, if a multinational force did not materialize. Financing it would be a major concern, and creative approaches to mobilize the needed funds would have to be explored with Member States. As the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) was being liquidated, assets that could be donated to AMISOM had already been identified, with the General Assembly’s approval.
Second, the Council should consider ways to build the capacity of Somali parties themselves to restore security, import the Djibouti talks into Somalia and carry forward the peace process, he continued. That could include the provision of training -- through international partners -- for the joint TFG/ARS forces established by the Djibouti Agreement, as well as capacity-building for the police, judicial and corrections sectors. Such efforts would be conducted under an overall security sector reform strategy, which could be nationally owned, with the United Nations assuming a coordinating role.
Finally, he said, the Council could explore the possibility of establishing a maritime task force, or adding to the current anti-piracy operations a quick reaction component. That would have the capability to launch operations in Somalia in support of United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) activities and AMISOM operations.
The objective was to stabilize Somalia and find a durable solution to the crisis in that country, he said, adding that he recognized that some Council members had other suggestions for dealing with the security crisis there, including putting AMISOM forces under a United Nations peacekeeping operation now. That was not his preferred option. He was of the view that strengthening AMISOM through, among other things, the provision of financing, logistical support, necessary training and equipment and other reinforcements, facilitated by the United Nations and Member States, was the realistic option at present. At the same time, he was continuing contingency planning for the deployment of a full-fledged United Nations peacekeeping operation at the appropriate time and under the right conditions, as requested by the Council. He would soon provide a detailed report to the Council covering those proposals.
Concerning piracy, he said he shared the deep concern of Member States at its escalation and that of armed robbery off Somalia’s coast. He welcomed the Council’s actions today, adding that he was particularly impressed by the actions of Member States and international organizations to pool their efforts and resources to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea. He thanked the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and individual Member States that had contributed in that regard. The need to coordinate and fortify those efforts remained an ongoing one, and the United Nations stood ready to assist.
He said that everyone must be mindful that piracy was a symptom of the state of anarchy, which had persisted in Somalia for more than 17 years. That lawlessness constituted a serious threat to regional and international peace and security. Anti-piracy efforts, therefore, must be placed in the context of a comprehensive approach that fostered an inclusive peace process in Somalia and assisted the parties to rebuild security, governance capacity, addressed human rights issues and harnessed economic opportunities throughout the country.
He appealed to the leaders and Somali people to give peace a chance and put the 17 years of war behind them. He was particularly disturbed by the continuing disunity of the Government’s leadership. Without an effective and unified government to support, there was little that the Untied Nations, and indeed the international community, could do in Somalia. He urged the country’s leaders to put their differences aside and place the future of the Somali people first.
The international community must today send a positive signal to the Somali people and the African Union that it was willing to provide a security path that would complement the political compromises reached through the Djibouti process, he said, adding “we must act before it is too late”.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, Secretary of State of the United States, said that several factors were limiting the effectiveness of the response to piracy and armed robbery. Specifically, because there was no existing mechanism for States to coordinate their actions, the result had been less than the sum of its parts. The United States envisioned a contact group serving as a mechanism to share intelligence, coordinate activities and reach out to partners; it would work quickly on that initiative. Also limiting was the impunity; piracy currently paid, and pirates paid little for their criminality.
She said the United States believed that, with the agreement of the Transitional Federal Government, as authorized by the Council today, pursuing pirates on land would have a significant impact. Maritime operations alone were insufficient for combating piracy. Also problematic was the detention and prosecution of captured pirates. The Convention on the Law of the Sea, Security Council resolutions and other legal instruments formed a base of sufficient legal authority with which to apprehend and prosecute pirates, but sometimes political will and capacity was lacking, such as in the region of Somalia, where many States lacked the necessary judicial and law-enforcement capacities. She called on States to contribute generously to build the legal capacity of those regional States, and she asked the United Nations to explore what could be done to build regional capacity.
The root of the piracy problem must be addressed, she said, adding that piracy was a symptom –- of the poverty and lawlessness that had plagued Somalia for decades. The Djibouti process had helped somewhat, but the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation on the ground was threatening that progress daily. The international community must make it a priority to work with the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM to help stabilize the situation. The United States believed that the time had come for the United Nations to consider and authorize a peacekeeping operation. That had been requested by the African Union and countries taking the brunt of the difficulty on the ground. And while conditions might not be auspicious for peacekeeping, they would be less auspicious if there had to be a return to peacekeeping.
She said that, while the United States would continue to do all it could to support AMISOM, it was afraid that the history of support for forces of that kind was not very good; voluntary contributions and voluntary training and mechanisms to make sure things were flowing smoothly was unsustainable. That was the reason for United Nations peacekeeping; it was compulsory, and not voluntary, in order for it to implement the work of the Security Council. So, the United States would continue to raise in consultations the need for a peacekeeping force, in accordance with the African Union’s request. Once peace and normalcy had returned to Somalia, Somalis could start down the path to development. Offering them an alternative to piracy and armed robbery was the best course of action. With today’s meeting and resolution, a strong message had been sent about the commitment to combat the scourge of piracy. It had been a good start.
ALDO MANTOVANI ( Italy) supported the Djibouti process that, he said, required an effective security framework, including further support to AMISOM. He agreed that the international community and the United Nations should take responsibility for ameliorating the situation. He said that the NATO mission, in which his country was taking part, had strengthened the fight against piracy, which he welcomed. But, he stressed that the complete solution to the problem required the establishment of a viable Somali State.
JEAN-MARIE RIPERT ( France) welcomed the adoption of the resolution and agreed that the root causes of the piracy lay in the Somali crisis of lawlessness. Joint international action against piracy, however, would at least allow humanitarian aid and other international assistance to continue. He described European contributions to the fight, and said that the past weeks had also seen efforts towards the creation of a coordination mechanism. The United Nations could play an important role in that regard.
In regard to further involvement in the Somali crisis, he took note that a classic United Nations peacekeeping operation would not be possible in the country. Support to AMISOM was a better option and he suggested the establishment of a trust fund for that purpose, as well as for the security efforts of the Transitional Federal Government. He remained convinced that a novel approach could be taken to the entire crisis. For example, a phased United Nations involvement could be deployed that first focused on political progress.
JAN GRAULS ( Belgium) supported international action against piracy and said his country would soon make a warship available for it. Today’s resolution allowed combat against piracy both on sea and land. He stressed that such provisions must be seen as exceptional, required by the severity of the problem. They must be time-limited and very strictly controlled. Combating piracy could have a positive effect on the general situation in Somalia, and the effort should not be mixed together with other efforts in the country.
With that in mind, he said that international efforts should be strengthened in supporting the current political process, in parallel with the anti-piracy efforts. A peacekeeping force from the United Nations, however, would be counterproductive unless the political process reached a certain stage. The African Union had been courageous in taking on that burden. The AMISOM must be supported.
GIADALLA A. ETTALHI ( Libya) said international solidarity, such as that which had emerged from the recent Nairobi international conference on piracy in Somalia, was needed to move beyond limited and partial reactions to a comprehensive solution to the problem. For the last two decades, Somalia had been in a state of instability, which had led to the collapse of institutions and the rule of law, and the exploitation of lands and waters. The political situation in Somalia required a comprehensive solution. The root causes of the problem must be dealt with, and not only the symptoms, in a way that advanced and expanded the political process and ensured implementation of the Djibouti Agreement.
In recent months, he noted, considerable efforts had been deployed in the Council to reach consensus on several important resolutions on piracy. Those efforts had been positive and commendable. Yet, Somali piracy was a result of the collapsed State and its consequences, such as the lack of security and dire humanitarian conditions. Hence, a comprehensive solution must focus first on improving security through effective support to AMISOM, in preparation for an international force with a clear mandate. Libya had voted for today’s resolution because it supported all efforts to combat piracy; its perpetrators must be pursued and brought to justice, in the context of international law and law of the sea. It must be kept in mind that today’s text dealt with a specific situation and was without prejudice to the rights and obligations of other States and in conformity with international law, without establishing new international law.
DUMISANI KUMALO ( South Africa) said that piracy was one of the symptoms of the root causes of the Somali conflict. Somalia urgently needed its tragic situation to be addressed in a comprehensive and holistic manner, meaning a political solution that led to the establishment of a reliable Government authority. At the same time, piracy, the proliferation of arms, impunity and other serious violations must be addressed.
The implementation of the Djibouti Agreement, he said, must be supported more strongly by the international community. The AMISOM should be supported for that purpose, until the situation allowed for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission. A trust fund was not enough to resolve the situation. Without strong international actions, Somalia would continue to sink further into despair. He finally expressed concern over the provision in the resolution that allowed for States to conduct land-based operations against piracy, saying there was a danger that innocent Somalis could fall victim to those operations.
Mr. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) condemned all acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and welcomed the regional efforts that had arisen to combat it. His country had actively participated in negotiated Council resolutions on the issue. It was important, however, to acknowledge that piracy was not a stand-alone problem, but a symptom of the lawlessness and anarchy in the territory of Somalia that needed to be addressed urgently. For that reason, he reiterated his strong support to the political process under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and urged the full implementation of the Djibouti Agreement. He also called for additional support for AMISOM.
In the immediate term, he welcomed Member States’ efforts to combat piracy and said that the United Nations and littoral States should play a strong coordinating role. He stressed that those efforts should be undertaken in full compliance with international law, in particular the Convention on the Law of the Sea and Council resolution 1846.
Mr. URBINA ( Costa Rica) said he was deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Somalia. The persistent instability was the main obstacle to reversing the state of affairs there and guaranteed near-total impunity for criminals. This year, the international community had focused on the design and implementation of substantial measures in order to combat piracy, one of the most visible manifestations of the complexity of the problem in Somalia. Piracy had surged exponentially this year. The large profits derived from ransom payments exceeded the resources Somalia devoted to piracy and fostered piracy’s growth.
He noted that three resolutions of the Council exclusively addressed that situation, calling on Member States of the region to cooperate among themselves and with the Transitional Federal Government to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea of Somalia’s coast. Those texts also addressed other legal measures, whereas today’s resolution broadened the scope and added measures for the gathering of evidence and the prosecution of the perpetrators. Placing emphasis on the subject of piracy had led to neglect of efforts to address the fundamental issue of the need to improve the political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia. He welcomed, in that regard, the expressed readiness of the United Nations and the international community to assist the parties in consolidating progress in those areas.
There was, indeed, an urgent need to halt the threat posed to maritime transport, including international trade and, above all, the provision of humanitarian relief for the more than 2.5 million Somalis in need, he said. But, while anarchy persisted in that country, all violent acts witnessed daily would continue. Respect for Somalia’s sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity, and addressing the requests of the Somali Government, must be the point of departure when formulating the appropriate response to combating piracy and armed robbery in accordance with international law and the Law of the Sea Convention. Any initiative in the field of maritime security must be flanked by international joint and coordinated action of technical assistance to Somalia and its neighbouring coastal States.
He welcomed the European Union’s deployment of the naval operation “Atalanta” to protect the WFP’s maritime convoys to Somalia. It was important for the international community to provide financial and logistical support to AMISOM, without prejudice to a United Nations decision in the future about how to maintain its presence in Somalia.
MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said the IMO had reported a nearly 70 per cent increase of piracy along the Somali coast for the first half this year. Increasingly sophisticated methods were used. His delegation had supported the previous three resolutions, along with the one adopted today, but it maintained that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea must remain the legal framework for combating piracy. The increasing numbers of attacks were primarily the result of the worsening situation in Somalia. Thus, no effort to combat piracy could succeed unless it dealt with the tragedy of the country as a whole. The African Union had been following the situation closely and was aware of that “truth”. It supported the Somalis’ efforts to move towards peace and reconciliation, and had tried to mobilize the international community.
He said that AMISOM’s establishment had given effect to Africa’s resolve to shoulder its responsibility. Since its creation, AMISOM had worked tirelessly in extremely difficult circumstances. But, it faced severe limitations. If such a situation continued, there was a real possibility the Mission might be forced to withdraw. While no one could predict all the consequences of such a development, surely they would be tragic for Somalia, the region as a whole and the entire international community. Withdrawal by AMISOM would certainly lead to a worsening of the security situation and ring in a new state of lawlessness in Somalia. The AMISOM was an invaluable tool and it must enjoy financial and logistical support.
In resolution 1772, the Council had called on the Secretary-General to reach agreement with the African Union for complementary support, he noted, asking the Council to shoulder its responsibility to help a Member State of the United Nations which had been suffering from a devastating civil war for years. “Did this not act also as a further argument for international commitment? We owe this to the people of Somalia who are hostage to the situation and the first victims of the war.” Since the signing in August of the Djibouti Agreement, there was no doubt that Somalis themselves were committed to emerging from the crisis. The same commitment displayed to finding a possible solution to the problem of piracy should translate into political will to inspire a resolution to the crisis as a whole.
HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said there was a very close linkage between security, reconciliation and humanitarian aid. What was needed now in Somalia was simultaneous action on both the political and security fronts. Without a doubt, the primary responsibility to resolve the crisis rested with the Transitional Federal Government and the Somalis themselves. However, the international community could, and should, focus its efforts on the political and security fronts, in which the establishments of a safe and secure environment was key to lasting peace and stability in Somalia. In that connection, he called on leaders of the Transitional Federal Government to work together towards strengthening and enlarging the Government. He urged all other Somalis to renounce violence, so that the country could stabilize itself for the sake of the Somali people.
He said that Viet Nam strongly condemned all acts of piracy and armed robbery. His country had engaged constructively in the Council’s efforts in that regard. He commended the initiatives undertaken by many other countries and by regional and international organizations to counter piracy in Somalia, pursuant to the Council’s resolutions, but he was convinced that the problems of piracy and lawlessness at sea off the Somali coast would not be solved if the problems since 1991 were not squarely dealt with. The international community, with the cooperation of the United Nations and the African Union, must engage more actively in Somalia, with a view to developing an integrated approach for peace, stability and development in that country. Any effort to fight piracy must respect territorial integrity and sovereignty.
RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said he supported the resolution, but stressed it must be implemented in accordance with international law. The international community must, in addition, use all means to achieve stability in Somalia. It must provide adequate support to AMISOM for that purpose.
IVO SANADER, Prime Minister of Croatia, speaking in his national capacity, said that today’s discussion had brought out the inter-linkages between the instability in Somalia, the explosion of piracy in the area, and international peace and security and development. It also brought out the severe impact of piracy on Somalia itself. He said that the meeting had strengthened international efforts against the scourge. He attached importance, in addition, to the building up of legal tools to use against piracy.
He underscored the crucial role that the European Union was playing in combating piracy, and welcomed the announcement of the launch of the first European naval operation in the effort. He also welcomed the enhanced cooperation between NATO and the United Nations and other organizations. In addition, he commended the role of the African Union in Somalia. More effective coordination against piracy was still required, in order to better utilize deployed resources. In addition, the root causes of piracy must be addressed through a comprehensive approach to the Somali crisis.
ALI AHMED JAMA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, said the question was whether the outcome would be any different this time. He hoped his participation in today’s session would help the Council focus both on the problem of piracy and on the bigger picture in Somalia. He had been heartened by today’s statements. On piracy, with its recent surge, his Government had strongly condemned those criminal acts, which were categorically unacceptable and should be put to an end. Somalia had no capacity to interdict or patrol its long coastline to ensure the security of the sea, but it had cooperated with the international community in that fight and it would continue to do so fully, now and in the future. That was why it supported resolution 1851.
He stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive and holistic strategic to the Somalia problem -- as piracy and terrorism and the humanitarian emergency were part of the whole problem, since the collapse of the Government in 1991. If that premise was accepted, he hoped there would be no difficulty in seeing a real way to tackling piracy and real instability in his country. The concentration should be on medium- and long-term solutions, and not just on the short term. The most effective way was for the Council to take immediate measures, hopefully before the end of the year, when AMISOM’s mandate was to be reviewed -- to authorize a robust peacekeeping operation. The undermanned AMISOM contingent could become the nucleus of that new United Nations force. The aim should be to strengthen the Somali State by strengthening its security forces through the provision of forces, training and equipment. The political process currently under way in Djibouti should also be bolstered.
If all of that was done right and implemented with competency and urgency, and integrity, any acts of lawlessness, including piracy, “can be taken care of”, he said. Other areas of assistance included socio-economic development and humanitarian assistance. But, surely, assistance in reconciliation and security was the most urgent. He reaffirmed that the Transitional Federal Government was fully committed to implementing its mandate, particularly the onerous task of reconciliation, despite the daunting and manmade challenges. On the goal of reconciliation, the Government was in the process of implementing the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. There had been delays and difficulties, but that was no surprise; after all, Somalia had been in a state of conflict since the collapse of the central Government in 1991.
Implementation of “ Djibouti” must proceed immediately and without delay, he stressed, informing the Council that the Cabinet had today endorsed the peace agreement and that the transitional federal Parliament would consider it tomorrow. Also today, the first meeting of the joint security committee had been held in Mogadishu to plan for the security force envisaged under the Djibouti Agreement. The Transitional Federal Government needed to secure its land, restore law and order, collect taxes, and so forth. That could only be done with a united team and a single-minded focus. Lack of cohesion and unity within the Government and the absence of a reliable security apparatus would lead to a breakdown of law and order, impact on real socio-economic development, and create a catastrophic humanitarian situation.
He urged the Council, in no uncertain terms, not to lose another opportunity: he called for the urgent deployment of a peacekeeping force to help the National Unity Government restore peace and security to Somalia.
YASUTOSHI NISHIMURA, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said that, as the pirates were attacking an important sea lane for world shipping and having deleterious effects on Somalia and the region, they were common enemies of the human race. It was, therefore, essential that the international community address the issue in a determined and coordinated manner. He welcomed the recent initiatives of the Security Council in that regard, as well as the efforts of countries that had been deploying naval vessels in the region. He stressed the importance of coordination in the struggle.
He said his country, as a maritime State and a trading nation, attached great importance to the safety of marine navigation, which was directly linked to its survival. In response to the current crisis, it had been conducting studies on the best legal framework to fight piracy, as well as on what actions could be taken under the existing legal frameworks. Once an appropriate international cooperation mechanism on piracy off the coast of Somalia was established, Japan would join. It had much expertise to offer. Finally, he stressed that a genuine resolution of the issue of piracy required peace and stability in Somalia, for which goal his country extended its support to AMISOM and the Somalia peace process. He pledged his country’s continued support towards that goal.
KONSTANTINOS TASSOULAS ( Greece) said the Security Council had expressed, through its resolution, the political will of the international community to combat the scourge of piracy. Greece had participated in that international endeavour, monitoring navigation, providing protection for humanitarian aid delivery, and deterring piracy off the Somali coast. It had also contributed a frigate and helicopter to Atalanta, the first naval operation of the European Union, and had been appointed to the position of Force Commander and Staff for the first four months. With the recently adopted Security Council resolution and the formation of a Contact Group, the international community now had the necessary mechanisms for coordination and cooperation to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, in accordance with international law.
While Greece was ready to participate in the Contact Group, he said his country held the view that States must also adopt the necessary domestic legislation to enable them to prosecute and try individuals engaged in acts of piracy. Peace and stability in Somalia should be promoted through a triple-fold approach, which would include: the effective cooperation of all parties through the Djibouti peace process and implementation of United Nations resolutions; further enhancement of the existing means and structures of the African Union to strengthen its capacity to respond autonomously in situations of crisis, like Somalia; and the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to the population of Somalia, which had been gravely affected by endless conflict, political instability, displacement and drought.
JONAS GAHR STØRE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway, said the Contact Group for Somalia met this morning to consider political processes that might lead to stability and restoration of legal authority in Somalia, without which it would plunge deeper into lawlessness. Piracy was a dramatic symptom of such lawlessness, and its roots must be addressed. Piracy was a threat to trade, to freedom of navigation and to world prosperity. It was a threat to the countries and people in the region, who would suffer the consequences of falling supplies. All acts of piracy were to be condemned. He voiced appreciation to efforts made by countries and regional organizations to combat that crime, and commended the Transitional Federal Government for its cooperative attitude. He also paid tribute to the Council for its leadership in passing resolutions 1816 (2008), 1838 (2008) and 1846 (2008).
He added that Norway was a large shipping nation with considerable experience in maritime affair, and around 1,000 Norwegian ships passed through the Bay of Aden every year. Norway would be open to requests for technical assistance to strengthen national capacity in the region to combat piracy, and was ready to contribute to naval operations in the area in 2009. As more ships participated in naval operations, the greater the need for organization and coordination. A clear United Nations role should be explored. Further, any measures that would authorize action against piracy should be in line with international law and humanitarian principles. Yet, the creation of safe havens for pirates in States with broken security sectors was unacceptable. The efforts to “resurrect” Somalia must continue with full force. Millions were in need of humanitarian aid and more than a million were internally displaced. Commending the efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and taking note of the Ethiopian Government’s decision to withdraw its troops from Somali soil, he said the international community must help the Somalis prevent a security vacuum from developing. He urged the Council to address that challenge with speed and determination.
BAKI ILKIN ( Turkey) said that, so far, two Turkish commercial vessels had been attacked and were still being held hostage. He condemned what he called “these barbaric acts”. It was true that the problem would not be solved until Somalia had stability, but the international community could not afford to wait until then and, meanwhile, must engage in robust international cooperation to fight the scourge. Turkey had joined with those cooperative efforts. He welcomed the leading role that the Security Council had taken, as well as the appointment of a focal point on the issue. Finally, he said that a solution to the plight of hostages must also be found, and efforts to create stability in Somalia must be strengthened.
ANDERS LIDEN ( Sweden) said, during the past year, there had been a steady wave of refugees trying to cross the Gulf of Aden from Somalia to Yemen. That was a dangerous and often lethal passage and, yet, over 19,000 Somalis had risked that journey. Hundreds of thousands had fled over land. There had also been an unprecedented increase of piracy off the coast of Somalia, and attacks had become more daring. At this stage, a comprehensive approach, making use of wide range of means, was needed to address the situation, including a naval force with an adequate mandate to protect humanitarian deliveries and fend off piracy.
Sweden, pending a parliamentary decision, had announced its intention to contribute a navy unit to the European Union-led operation Atalanta, primarily in order to protect and escort WFP vessels, he said. The European Union naval operation and other similar operations were important first steps, but it was necessary to think further and aim at long-term conflict resolution. It was also important to address the root causes of piracy, smuggling and trafficking. “We need to support the Somalis in recreating a functioning society that can uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights, and where young Somalis will have true opportunities, more attractive than to become criminals or refugees”, he said. The alternative would risk entrenching Somalia as a recruiting ground and safe haven for criminality and terrorism.
Confirming Sweden’s strong support for the political process under the Djibouti Agreement led by UNPOS and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ould Abdallah, he said that it was the only constructive way forward now. It was a process that was owned by the Somali parties, which built on their commitment and responsibility for their own State. The process must become more inclusive and take firmer root on the ground. The international community must find constructive ways for supporting that process, including support for increased security and development. The international community must tread carefully and ensure that its actions, and the mandates given by the Council, were in line with the ongoing efforts to build an inclusive peace in Somalia.
THOMAS MATUSSEK ( Germany) said that his country was determined to take part in the European contribution to the international response to piracy. He welcomed the important cooperation mechanism, which must avoid duplication of effort and must strengthen the legal framework for the prosecution of pirates. Land operations provided for in the resolution must only be used as specified. It was also important to assist in the creation of a stable Somalia. He expressed appreciation to the African Union for its efforts in that regard, and urged all Somali parties to work for a lasting solution under the framework of the Djibouti Agreement.
CARSTEN STAUR ( Denmark) said the current meeting underlined how piracy had rapidly developed into a significant challenge to the entire international community. Piracy could not be solved by one State alone. Instead, it should be addressed by the international community, with initiatives to match the severity and urgency of the situation. Denmark strongly welcomed efforts undertaken within the framework of the United Nations and the IMO, including the adoption of Security Council resolution 1846 (2008).
He said that, as a nation with a large commercial fleet, his country had a keen interest in an intensified international anti-piracy effort. Currently entrusted with the leadership of the United Nations-supported Task Force 150, Denmark had also contributed to the maritime military escort of WFP aid transports. In light of the large variety of actors in the field, Denmark warmly welcomed the establishment of an international cooperation mechanism as a common point of contact, in line with the resolution. That mechanism, given broad scope, would constitute a major step forward. Denmark also welcomed plans to form a contact group and stood ready to participate actively in that initiative.
The question of judicial infrastructure should be a major focus of the international community’s attention, hesaid. Danish naval forces had recently detained a number of suspected pirates in international waters, but, because it was impossible to prosecute the suspects in Denmark or any other State, the detainees had eventually been released. In the long term, there might be a need to examine the possibility of bringing suspected pirates before an international tribunal, but more practical solutions were necessary in the short term. In that respect, it was particularly important to conclude regional and bilateral agreements on the extradition and prosecution of pirate detainees. New and innovative approaches should also be considered, such as Denmark’s suggestion to establish a team of experts to help ensure the prosecution of pirates detained at sea. In many ways, piracy was merely a symptom, and there was a need to continue working to find a cure for its root cause. Thus, efforts towards a political solution, as well as peaceful and sustainable development in Somalia, should go hand in hand with efforts to combat piracy.
ABDULLAH M. ALSAIDI ( Yemen) said the humanitarian and security situation in Somalia was deteriorating daily and, despite negotiations between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia, the violence persisted. Because of geographic proximity, Yemen was suffering the consequences of that deterioration and experiencing a proliferation of piracy acts and human trafficking. Yemen had spared no effort within its means to resolve the Somali crisis through a series of initiatives seeking to bring together the Somali clans, political parties and leaders.
Regarding piracy in the territorial waters of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, he said those acts were a serious threat to international and maritime navigation in some of the most important international seaways. Yemen condemned them, and was working with other Red Sea coastal States, as well as the international community, on the best ways to end piracy. Yemen welcomed the 29 November consultative meeting of Arab States in Cairo under the joint presidency of Yemen and Egypt to discuss ways to combat piracy off the Somali coast. It also welcomed the communiqué stating that the security of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden was the responsibility of the coastal States and, therefore, any arrangement or operation therein required prior consultation with those States.
He pointed out that piracy off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden had increased the social, economic and health burdens suffered by Yemen because of the uninterrupted flow of refugees towards its territory. The country had also incurred increased costs from the use of the Coast Guard, owing to the risk of drowning. Yemen welcomed the communiqué adopted earlier this month in Nairobi. The establishment in Yemen of a regional centre for exchanging information on piracy and for mobilizing material support could contribute to the coordination of regional and international efforts in that regard.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) delivered a statement on behalf of the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who was unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances. The statement acknowledged the threat to international security posed by piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast, and said there was a need to widen the scope of the debate towards establishing a “methodology for movement”, in the context of existing legal and political frameworks and taking account international, regional and security circumstances. Piracy off the Somali coast was a direct consequence of the fragile political and security situation in Somalia, which had come about due to international ignorance on how to consolidate peace and stability in that country.
Egypt’s position had been to tackle the roots of the situation and the motives for piracy, he said. Egypt supported international and regional efforts to combat the phenomenon, while making sure to respect international law and the sovereignty of States over its territorial waters. Egypt believed its efforts should be seen as being in tandem with those efforts aimed at reaching agreement on procedures to handle piracy. Those procedures could potentially involve military confrontation, interrogation, and taking legal and judicial actions against pirates. In developing such procedures, ideas on various options for trial should be taken into account, including that of establishing an ad hoc international court empowered by a Security Council resolution.
Egypt had been keen to convene a consultative meeting for Arab countries bordering the Red Sea on 20 November, he continued. The intention behind it was to confirm two facts: that there were no pirate activities in the Red Sea, due to the capacity of coastal countries to secure their shores; and that Arab countries bordering the Red Sea had the will to coordinate their efforts to secure the navigation in that body of water, especially given their concern at the escalation of piracy in the southern portion of the Red Sea. The “organic link” between piracy and the Somali situation, in general, raised the necessity of developing effective ways to support the consolidation of peace in Somalia, now that the Djibouti agreement was signed. Egypt looked forward to having the Security Council study the option of deploying a United Nations peacekeeping force in Somalia, to act as a “safety valve”, with the possibility of exploring ways to enhance the peacekeeping force with both “maritime and land elements”.
NIRUPAM SEN (India) said that, as one of the nations sharing the Arabian Sea with Somalia, his country was particularly concerned by acts of piracy in Somali waters, which were the result of a larger ongoing tragedy in that country. A comprehensive approach that addressed the chaos in the country was the best long-term solution to the problem of piracy. However, in the short term, and in light of the international community’s inability, so far, to anchor political processes in Somali soil, an urgent, well-coordinated, collective and cooperative international response to the turmoil spilling out onto the seas was required. India was directly affected by piracy and, therefore, had recently deployed two of its modern naval vessels to deal with the challenge at the request of, and in consultation with, Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government. However, despite some success, piracy continued to pose a significant threat.
From that standpoint, and given the country’s special circumstances, the international response to piracy in Somalia must include a number of elements, he said. First, it would be necessary to institutionalize operational coordination among navies in the area, and to set up a mechanism, such as a contact group, for those involved in the anti-piracy effort. Greater clarity would also be required, specifically as it pertained to the legal framework in dealing with apprehended pirates. In addition, there must be a closer linkage between the arms embargo and the anti-piracy effort, as suggested in the report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia. Expanding the capacity of Somali entities to deal with acts of piracy, on land and at sea, would also be beneficial. Finally, the IMO should lead a process to evolve effective protection systems and strategies for merchant vessels to adopt when navigating pirate-infested waters.
YAHYA MAHMASSANI, Permanent Observer of the League of Arab States, said it was essential to restore stability in Somalia to stem the deterioration of conditions there and to fight piracy. For that purpose, support to the Djibouti Agreement was crucial. All parties in Somalia must resolve their disagreements and commit to that agreement. He called on the United Nations to deploy a multinational force to help achieve stability on the ground and commended the African Union for its willingness to integrate efforts with that force. The legal framework for prosecuting pirates must be strengthened. He called on the Security Council to take practical actions to both restore stability in Somalia and end the threat of piracy.
RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union Commission, said it was gratifying to note that AMISOM had been resiliently representing the international community on the ground in that country for the last two years. He called on all friends of the country to provide more support for that mission to reach the authorized level of 8,000 troops and obtain transport capabilities; and to pledge troops, logistics and equipment for the establishment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, which also required a well-articulated Security Council mandate.
He said the twin problems of piracy and terrorism were a symptom of a larger problem: lawlessness in south central Somalia, which must be addressed. Nevertheless, he applauded the multinational efforts to join together in combating this international criminal phenomenon. For its part, the African Union was thoroughly addressing the issue of maritime security and safety in the new Commission’s strategic plan for the period 2009-2012.
He cautioned, however, that if Somalia were allowed to sink, while partners in the international community were mobilizing tremendous assets to combat piracy, world security would be severely undermined. For that reason, he called for a strong political signal expressing the Council’s support of the Djibouti agreement. He said that additional political support was needed for AMISOM and reiterated his support for a full-fledged United Nations peacekeeping mission in Somalia as soon as possible, which would incorporate an enhanced AMISOM. He urged the Council to take decisive steps to avoid a security vacuum, pledging that the African Union was ready to make additional sacrifices in Somalia, within the context of more effective international support.
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