Saturday, September 13, 2008

UN seeks new fight against Somali pirates

A proposed new UN resolution calls on all countries with a stake in maritime safety to send naval ships and military aircraft to fight piracy on the high seas off the coast of Somalia, according to a draft obtained.


The draft Security Council resolution would also call on ships and planes to use "the necessary means" to stop acts of iracy. It was drafted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which means its provisions can be enforced militarily.

The French-drafted resolution was expected to be put to a vote in the Security Council early next week, council diplomats on Thursday said, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions are taking place in private.

The draft resolution expresses grave concern at "the recent proliferation of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea against vessels off the coast of Somalia." It also notes with concern "that increasingly violent acts of piracy are carried  but with heavier weaponry, in a larger area off the coast of

Somalia" using mother ships and more sophisticated methods of attack. On Thursday, Somali pirates holding a hijacked Ukrainian argo ship loaded with tanks and heavy weapons said they will not release it for less than USD 20 million and warned they ould fight back against any commando-style rescue attempts.

 A half-dozen US navy warships have surrounded the MV Faina, which was seized last Thursday off the central coast of Somalia. The new draft resolution only applies to pirates off Somalia, whose 3,025-kilometer coastline is the longest in frica and near key shipping routes that connect the Indian Ocean with the Red Sea. 

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