Ban Ki-moon welcomes India’s decision to fight piracy

November 20th, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Nov 20 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the decision of India and other countries to cooperate with Somalia to fight piracy in its waters, an issue that has gained immediacy with Somali sea bandits attempting 95 hijackings this year alone.This marks a 75 percent increase since 2007, with pirates currently holding 13 ships captive in the Somali ports of Eyl and Hobyo in the Gulf of Aden.

In his latest report on Somalia submitted to the Security Council, Ban said: “I welcome the decision of the governments of India and the Russian Federation to cooperate with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to fight piracy and armed robbery against ships.”

The secretary general’s report on Somalia was submitted to the Security Council Nov 17 and made available Wednesday.

In his 22-page report, Ban said the permanent representative of Somalia to the United Nations had said that a number of countries, including India, were cooperating in fighting piracy.

Earlier, in a statement, Ban had expressed his concern at new acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia. He reiterated his condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea wherever they occur.

Stressing that he strongly supports efforts by member states to address this scourge and was working closely with the Somalian government, the International Maritime Organisation, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, European Union and others countries to ensure coordinated international efforts to fight piracy.

He welcomed the European Union’s decision to authorise the deployment of a maritime force off the coast of Somalia, and the efforts of individual member states to send vessels, which will strengthen security in the area.

A spokesperson for the secretary general told reporters that it was up to the Security Council to take a call on a UN peacekeeping force to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia.

“Driven by economic considerations, the navies of several countries including the US, Russia, Malaysia and some European countries have sent their ships to protect their own shipping. The pirates are taking advantage of the safety provided by the Somali coastline - the longest in the Gulf of Aden - and a lack of formal agreement between the concerned nations on conducting joint operations,” a senior navy official told IANS in the Indian capital Wednesday.

A day earlier, an Indian Navy frigate INS Tabar sank a pirate vessel off the Somali coast. Prior to this, INS Tabar had repulsed two pirate attacks on two merchant ships, one belonging to India and the other to Saudi Arabia.

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