Dec 3, 2008

World - Countries can enter Somali waters to fight piracy: UN

United Nations, Dec 3 (IANS) The UN Security Council has passed a resolution permitting member countries to enter the territorial waters of Somalia to fight piracy.

The US-sponsored resolution, passed unanimously by the Security Council Tuesday, is valid for 12 months. It welcomes the recent initiatives taken by countries like India, Canada, France, Russia, Britain and the US to counter piracy off Somali coast.

The Security Council resolution is expected to come as a big help to countries like India that are fighting Somali pirates. Under international laws, naval ships are free to patrol international waters.

Indian naval vassals and those from the other countries were constrained so far to enter the territorial waters of Somalia, a situation the pirates have taken full advantage of.

'The resolution is the beginning for setting a comprehensive approach for dealing with piracy in that region,' Rosemary DiCarlo, the US ambassador and alternate representative for Special Political Affairs, told reporters at the UN headquarters here.

The resolution also makes very clear the support for the European Union mission that is about to be launched and welcomes the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) initiative to escort World Food Programme (WFP) shipments until the EU mission is up and running.

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui said piracy had become rampant and posed grave threats to international humanitarian assistance and navigational security, with dire consequences for the global economy and the lives of people in Somalia.

Expressing concern over the increasing sophistication and strength of the pirates, Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said his country was considering sending more naval forces to add strength to the international fleet in the region.

Combating piracy requires greater focus and the appropriate jurisdiction for bringing the culprits to justice, he said.

Italian ambassador Aldo Mantovani said the resolution had made fight against piracy stronger, more coordinated and more effective.

In its resolution, the Security Council called for 'seizure and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment' used or suspected of being used for piracy.

The 15-member council expressed concern over the threat piracy poses to the prompt, safe and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, to international navigation and the safety of commercial maritime routes.

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