US cites Indian success against pirates to signal global action

November 20th, 2008 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 20 (IANS) Citing the Indian Navy’s sinking of a pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden, the US has said action is taking place to deal with the problem of piracy in the international system.”The issue of piracy is a concern to us as well as others in the international system,” US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Wednesday, noting: “The issue of piracy has been with us, as an international system, unfortunately, for quite some time.”

Asked about reports that the owners of a hijacked Saudi supertanker were in talks over a possible ransom, he said: “I’m going to decline to offer any advice to the Saudis on this matter.”

The State Department is “trying to come at it from the diplomatic and political angle”, McCormack said.

“We’re working in the Security Council to try to pass a resolution that could perhaps help deal with some of the limitations that currently exist in dealing with vessels on the high seas,” he added.

McCormack noted that “the Indian Navy engaged with some pirates off the Horn of Africa…as I understand it, the Indian Navy vessel was fired upon. They fired back, sank one of the vessels, and captured some of these pirates as well”.

“So there is action that is taking place. But you are also talking about a very, very large surface area in the Indian Ocean just off the Red Sea, off the coast of Somalia.

“It’s an international problem. You’re not going to solve this - the United States is not going to solve this alone. No one country is going to solve it alone,” McCormack said.

“You can see, in very practical terms, the fact that this is an international problem by the fact that you have Indian naval vessels, you have Russian naval vessels, you have NATO vessels in the area.

“You have US vessels that are in the area that are involved in counter-terrorism operations. And again, they have certain obligations under certain circumstances involving piracy. So things are being done,” he said.

“We are taking a look internally here at the State Department to make sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to work with others to address what is an international problem,” he added.

At the White House, spokesperson Dana Perino said President George W. Bush had been briefed about the Somali pirates, and ensuring the safety and well being of the crew was of paramount importance in preventing or dealing with issues of piracy.

“We’re working with other members of the Security Council right now to see if there are actions that we can do to more effectively fight against piracy and prevent it,” she said.

“The goal would be to try to help get this ship to safety, secure the crew, and then work with our international partners to try to alleviate the piracy problem full stop,” Perino added.

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