SOMALIA: EU SET TO EXTEND SOMALIAN ANTI-PIRACY FORCE UNTIL 2016   2 comments

The EU is poised to prolong the life of Operation Atalanta, a multi-million euro counter-piracy naval force off the coast of Somalia, as part of the bloc’s comprehensive approach to state-building and peace-making in the Horn of Africa.

The mandate for the force was due to run out in December 2014, but an EU official speaking on condition of anonymity cited “good indications” that it would be extended.

“There is now no reason to believe that member states would not extend it,” the source said. “It is even likely to be extended for two more years.”

The programme, which is thought to cost over €100 million a year, protects international shipping and takes active steps to counter piracy, as well as monitoring fishing activities.

It is viewed by Brussels as one of a raft of tools – including financial aid and the training of security forces – necessary for the EU’s ‘comprehensive approach’ to state-building and peace-making in the Horn of Africa, meshing humanitarian and political tracks.

Partly due to the success of Atalanta, the US state department says that “there has not been a successful pirate attack on a commercial vessel off the Horn of Africa in more than a year and a half, and pirates no longer control a single hijacked vessel.”

Hostage numbers in the region have fallen from over 700 in 2011 to around 50 today. But the EU maintains that it is “strongly committed to bringing this number down to zero: zero ships and zero seafarers in the hands of Somali pirates”.

“The fight against piracy is not yet won,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in a statement. “It is vital that the international community continues to work together to stamp out piracy and consolidate the gains we have already made”.

As it assumes the chair of the International Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia for a year, the EU’s priorities thus include streamlining the group and bringing in more regional players, such asshipping companies, the African Union and neighbouring states.

The first meeting under the EU’s chairmanship will take place in Paris on 28 January.

allafrica.com

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Posted January 14, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

2 responses to “SOMALIA: EU SET TO EXTEND SOMALIAN ANTI-PIRACY FORCE UNTIL 2016

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  1. Reblogged this on Brittius.com.

  2. Richard M Nixon (Deceased)

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