Counter Piracy Support
UAE stresses full support to counter piracy off the Coast of Somalia
In this respect, the UAE Conference gained consensus on two key areas for the international effort to focus, First: the international community must provide sufficient support to ensure that states in the piracy-affected region have the capacity to mount viable national counter-piracy challenges. This support must begin with Somalia: so that the Somali authorities can enforce maritime safety and security in its territorial waters.
In this regard, the UAE joined Somalia in emphasizing the need to develop of the Somali national coast guard. At the Conference, the UAE announced its intention to provide comprehensive support to establish this crucial national force, including boats, stations and other equipment, and financial resources, following the August end of the transition. We commend also the initiative of the European Union towards maritime capacity building for Somalia and its intentions to include regional states in this regard.
The Dubai Conference further presented an opportunity to provide further political support for the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, in particular Working Group 1 and the Contact Group Trust Fund, in this key area of regional capacity building.
The Conference Final Statement endorsed the UAE’s proposal to further enhance the activity and the profile of the Trust Fund of the Contact Group by making it a central focal point for funds directed toward regional maritime security capacity building projects to counter piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
Toward this end, the UAE announced a new financial commitment to the Trust Fund, of US$1million, to be used in support of this key area. The UAE looks forward to further engagement with its Contact Group partners, and especially with Working Groups 1 and 2, on reflecting the agreement of the Dubai Conference in the Terms of Reference of the Trust Fund and in seeing new projects in this area agreed.
Second: the UAE Conference further emphasized the need to expand public-private cooperation in the fight against piracy. Leaders from the maritime sector demonstrated their readiness to do more to support the international response, including through providing new financial resources. Regional and international governments made clear their willingness to support them in these efforts.
In particular, global maritime industry clearly communicated its increasing concern for the humanitarian situation facing seafarers, and called on governments and the international community to do more in this area. 11 vessels and 218 crew members continue to be held by Somali pirates on land and at sea. These figures may represent a decrease on previous years. But so long as seafarers remain captive, combating maritime piracy must remain a priority among both governments and global maritime industry.
We reaffirm at the same time that countering piracy cannot be effective without fundamental changes in the stability and security conditions of Somalia. Therefore we urge the international community to provide the necessary funding for the initiatives and projects aimed at developing alternate livelihoods for the Somali people, including by providing assistance to Somalia for the early establishment of its exclusive economic zone, enactment of the necessary anti-piracy national legislations, and the development of fisheries and infrastructure for exports of livestock and other projects for boosting the local economy, in order to enable Somalia reduce the negative phenomena that spread among its people as a result of poverty and lack of security and stability, and to prevent the Somali youth and the unemployed from involvement in piracy activities. In this context, we also emphasize the need to make efforts of combating piracy in Somalia an integral part of the overall strategy of the Djibouti Agreement of Peace, which requires providing the necessary assistance to the Somali Government in order to enable it achieve reconciliation, promote good governance and the rule of law, building transitional federal institutions and strengthening the capacity of achieving sustainable national development, in order to bring peace and stability across the country.
The UAE continues to look forward to its engagement with the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, its five Working Groups, and all participants.
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Image courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence