Somali coast piracy now a UN concern

You know that things have become direr when the United Nations decides to step in and intervene in a problem.

Somali coast piracy now a UN concern

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You know that things have become direr when the United Nations decides to step in and intervene in a problem. According to the UN, it has decided to get involved in trying to curb the escalating problem of rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia.

The United Nations announced Monday that it will convene a two-day international conference in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia.

The gathering, hosted by the Kenyan government, will begin on December 10, when technical experts will discuss the issue, the UN said.

The following day, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, and Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula will chair a ministerial-level meeting that will be attended by some 140 representatives from 40 countries. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki is to deliver an address.

“It is clear that the problem of piracy is linked to the need for peace and stability in Somalia itself,” said Mr. Ould-Abdallah. “We hope that this high-level conference will lead to greater international attention and cooperation between countries, regional, and international organizations.”

He said the gathering is very important and timely given the increasing threat of piracy in Somali waters, which threatens the safety of trade routes.

Piracy has a foreseeable threat to cruise tourism as proven earlier in the week when pirates tried but failed to attack the luxury American cruise liner MS Nautica, prompting industry experts to question what impact piracy may have on cruise ship insurance costs. “I don’t know where the rates are going to go, but they’re not going to go down,” Rich DeSimone, president of Travelers Ocean Marine insurance, told the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the conference in Kenya gets underway the same week as the European Union’s Operation Atalanta, an anti-piracy task force seeking to protect merchant ships from pirate attacks off of Somalia.

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

In a unanimously-adopted resolution, the council asked secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to report within three months on ways to ensure long-term security off the coast of Somalia, notably for UN World Food Program deliveries, and on a possible coordination and leadership role for the UN in rallying member states and regional organizations for such a goal.

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

Source: United Nations

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