Posted by: africanpressorganization | 15 April 2009

Somalia / Maritime Piracy



Somalia / Maritime Piracy


PARIS, France, April 15, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — French ministry of Foreign Affairs Daily Press Briefing

Taken Questions

Q – The United States has decided to increase its resources and naval forces in the region. Does France also intend to increase its forces in view of the recent incidents?


We are working together with several partners to secure the Gulf of Aden and combat piracy. Decisions are taken jointly together with our partners. There is international and European cooperation with regard to this matter.


Q – The armed forces themselves state that force is not a solution to the problem. Political efforts are also required. In your opinion, since Somalia has had no effective state apparatus since 1992, what can be done?


This is exactly the position France has taken and that Bernard Kouchner has reiterated on several occasions. We would like to build a stable nation in Somalia and ensure governing powers within its sovereign space. The international community is represented through AMISOM. Other initiatives are being discussed with regard to strengthening the governing powers of the Somali State.


Q – An important question still remains with regard to consultations with your partners on security in Somalia. There have been 64 attempted acts of piracy this year. The pirates have had some “successes.” The port of Eyl is overflowing with ships and hostages.

What do you think should be done about this situation?


We have been extremely proactive and not passive with regard to the situation. As soon as the World Food Programme ships were attacked by pirates, France took the initiative, along with other partners, to secure the WFP ships through Operation Alcyon. This prompted the international community to rally together to secure the Gulf of Aden and combat piracy. We became aware of this scourge very early on and of the destruction caused by the pirates along these coasts, affecting both the WFP and international sea transport. The international community has, since then, mobilized its efforts and a certain number of initiatives have been introduced. However, there is no such thing as zero risk. It is an extremely wide maritime area where it is difficult to guarantee absolute security.


The level of international mobilization has continued to increase. It will continue to increase further and we hope to succeed in reducing the risk of piracy as much as possible.


Q – And the hostages?


And of course to free the hostages that are being held. You mention the acts of piracy that have succeeded but we have managed to foil a certain number of them – not just France but all of the partners have mobilized and sent assets to the Gulf of Aden. We have prevented some acts of piracy and we have managed to disrupt many of them. It is not true to say that the international community has consistently lost face to the pirates or that it has not made any progress. We have had some success and have been able to deter and disrupt some acts of piracy and we will continue with these efforts. The mobilization of the international community will not slow down; on the contrary it will increase.


Q – We always refer to the role of the international community but we never talk about the role of countries in the region such as Yemen or Egypt in this crisis. Why is that?


Because this mobilization extends far beyond just the countries that neighbor, border or are in proximity to the area. The entire international community must mobilize since the acts of piracy do not just have a negative impact on the countries that are close to this maritime area. They also impact the World Food Programme ships and ships that sail in this busy shipping area. All countries are affected by acts of piracy, which is why the international community must mobilize and the neighboring countries should not be left to deal with the situation alone. The acts of piracy threaten the interests of the international community, not just those of the neighboring countries.





SOURCE : France – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


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