[dehai-news] (UN.org) Piracy problem inseparable from overall Somali crisis, Ban warns


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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Wed Dec 17 2008 - 08:42:20 EST


Piracy problem inseparable from overall Somali crisis, Ban warns16 December
2008 As the United Nations Security Council strengthened efforts today to
fight piracy off the Somali coast, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that
the problem could not be divorced from the need to bring a comprehensive,
inclusive peace to the war-torn country that has been without a functioning
central government since 1991.

"We must be mindful that piracy is a symptom of the state of anarchy which
has persisted in that country for over 17 years," Mr. Ban *told* the
15-member body, which unanimously adopted a resolution reiterating earlier
calls to countries and regional organizations with the necessary capability
to deploy naval ships and military aircraft off the coast and laying out
additional measures to bring the pirates to justice and possibly go after
them on land.

"Our anti-piracy efforts must be placed in the context of a comprehensive
approach which fosters an inclusive peace process in Somalia and assists the
parties to rebuild security, governance capacity, address human rights
issues and harness economic opportunities throughout the country," he said.

Noting that Ethiopia's plan to withdraw its troops from Somalia by the end
of the year could easily lead to chaos, he recommended as "the realistic
option at this time" strengthening the African Union Mission in Somalia
(AMISOM) through financing, logistical support, necessary training,
equipment and other reinforcements facilitated by the UN and Member States.

While the most appropriate response to the complex security challenges is a
Multinational Force (MNF), rather than a typical peacekeeping operation,
with full military capabilities to support the cessation of armed
confrontation, he said no Member State had offered to play the lead nation
role and the response had not been encouraging from the 50 countries and
three international organizations he had approached for contributions.

If the enhanced AMISOM arrangement proved successful, it would pave the way
for deploying UN peacekeepers, he added, pointing out that the Council could
consider setting up a Maritime Task Force or adding a quick reaction
component to the current anti-piracy efforts to launch operations into
Somalia in support of UN humanitarian activities and AMISOM.

Mr. Ban stressed that the responsibility to bring peace rests primarily with
the Somalis themselves, regretted the continuing feuding within the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and recent division between the
President and Prime Minister, and urged armed groups that cite Ethiopia's
withdrawal as a condition for ending the fighting to join the Djibouti peace
process already underway between the TGF and Alliance for the Re-liberation
of Somalia (ARS).

In its resolution the Council called on States and regional organizations
fighting piracy to conclude agreements with countries, especially in the
region, willing to take custody of pirates to put their own law enforcement
officials on board as 'ship riders' to prosecute detained suspects.

It decided that for 12 months, States and regional organizations cooperating
in the fight against piracy "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."

It also noted that escalating ransom payments are fuelling the growth of
piracy, and that the lack of enforcement of the 1992 arms embargo has given
pirates ready access to arms and ammunition.

Earlier today, the UN crime-fighting agency endorsed a regional 'ship rider'
approach to bring the pirates to justice similar to one that has proved
successful in fighting drug traffickers in the Caribbean.

The so-called International Contact Group, meeting today at UN headquarters
under the chairmanship of Mr. Ban's Special Representative Ahmedou
Ould-Abdallah, also voiced serious concern at the continued dispute between
the TGF leaders, urged all Somali parties to participate in the Djibouti
process and called for more for more resources and material support for
AMISOM.

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