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Top UN envoy condemns recent rash of piracy off the coast of Somalia

Top UN envoy condemns recent rash of piracy off the coast of Somalia

European Union is providing naval escorts off the coast of Somalia (file photo)
The United Nations envoy to Somalia today condemned the recent upsurge in piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation, calling the hijackings an “insult to international legality.”

This week alone Somali pirates have sequestered six ships in as many days, with the media reporting the brief capture yesterday of a ship, carrying 20 American crew members, whose captain is still being held hostage on a life-boat.

“The response must be clear and firm condemnation in words and in action against this pandemic,” said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia.

“These acts of criminality must not be allowed to follow the same path of impunity of the past,” he added.

With some of the attacks carried out nine kilometres from the coast, Mr. Ould-Abdallah said that piracy brings with it threats to freedom of navigation, political and economic stability in the region, delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as risks to the environment.

“Their proliferation is an insult to international legality but also an invitation to the international community to bring an appropriate and new support to the Somali authorities to help them address effectively the root causes of piracy,” said Mr. Ould-Abdallah.

He stressed that he had no doubt that a meeting later this month between the UN, the African Union (AU), the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the European Union/European Commission to support Somalia and address its security situation will bear successful results.

On top of combating widespread lawlessness, the fledgling Government of National Unity, established in February, has the task of healing the country, which has been riven by factional fighting and had not had a functioning central government since the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991.