Thank you, Mr. President. I too would like to thank Special Representative Ould-Abdallah for his comments and for his efforts and those of the staff of the UN political office for Somalia, on behalf of the Somali people. I’d also like to welcome to the Council today the Permanent Representative of Somalia, his Excellency Ambassador Duale.
Mr. President, the scourge of piracy off the coast of Somalia affects us all—through increased risk to our citizens, disruption of global commercial shipping routes, and damage to property and goods. This problem shows no sign of abating. As the Secretary-General’s report notes, there were 160 instances of piracy in the eastern African area from January 1 to September 30 of this year—up from 136 during the same period last year. Many of these attacks are now shifting from the Gulf of Aden to the western Indian Ocean in response to successful naval operations in the Gulf.
The international community’s deep concern over this issue has resulted in the extraordinary counter-piracy cooperation off the coast of Somalia.
Dozens of states and international organizations are working together to suppress piracy and protect vulnerable ships transiting Somali waters or seeking to deliver badly needed humanitarian aid to Somalia’s shores. In particular, the United States commends the efforts of the European Union’s Operation Atalanta; of NATO’s Operation Allied Protector and Operation Ocean Shield; and of the Combined Maritime Forces’ Task Force 151. We also commend the role played by individual states in these important efforts. The SHADE initiative has allowed for excellent operational and tactical coordination, and we thank all partners for their participation.
The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia has also made significant contributions to the global effort to suppress piracy, and we greatly appreciate the role that the United Nations has played here. In cooperation with the Contact Group, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime and the UN Office of the Legal Adviser have worked to enhance the judicial capacity of regional states. And we are also grateful to the International Maritime Organization for its work to coordinate and implement the Djibouti code of conduct. In this regard, we would like to acknowledge Japan’s generous donation for the IMO’s International Trust Fund.
Mr. President, the United States believes that the international community must continue and intensify efforts to combat piracy. We would like to raise five issues today that we think are important in this regard.
First, renewing the authorities of Security Resolutions 1846 and 1851 is essential. These authorities provide a basis for ongoing counter-piracy military operations and allow Member States to prevent pirates from using Somalia’s territorial waters, land, and air as safe havens to evade forces in the area.
Second, we must continue to share information and best practices. On September 10, the United States, along with several other flag states signed the New York Declaration, a political commitment to ensure that vessels operating under the signatories’ flags implement internationally recognized best management practices for self-protection. These best practices include guidance from the International Maritime Organization, the maritime industry and flag states. We encourage other states to sign the New York Declaration and require vessels to implement self-protection measures.
Third, we are concerned that ransom payments have contributed to the recent increases in piracy and encourage all states to adopt a firm “no concessions policy” when dealing with hostage-takers, including pirates.
Fourth, the United States believes that affected states should give favorable consideration to prosecuting suspected pirates. We encourage states to enact domestic legislation to enable the prosecution of piracy as a crime in their national courts. We also urge support for regional states to enhance their capacities to prosecute and incarcerate pirates, and encourage states to utilize the Contact Group’s Multi-Donor Trust. And we would especially like to commend states that have taken the lead in prosecution—in particular, Kenya.
Finally, the United States believes that a focus on Somalia’s economic development, political stability, and humanitarian needs is critical. Piracy is closely linked to instability, weak governance and the rule of law, and the lack of opportunity on land. We strongly support efforts to assist the Transitional Federal Government develop its institutions, including its security sector, and to boost Somalia’s economy and create viable livelihoods.
We also applaud the African’s Union’s AMISOM forces that are helping to stabilize Somalia and the UN’s role in supporting the Somali people.
Mr. President, we are encouraged that Somalia is taking further initiatives to address piracy, including plans to reactivate the Coast Guard to help patrol Somalia’s waters. The United States remains committed to working with the Transitional Federal Government and the international community to combat piracy. We laud the excellent cooperation to date and look forward to seeing it continue.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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