The diplomats from Italy, the Seychelles, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania and Thailand were in Abu Dhabi yesterday where they agreed to fight piracy on two fronts; battling the country’s pirates, and feeding its people.
They broadly agreed the keys were military action, restoring law and order, and increasing aid.
The diplomats mapped out a range of measures to cooperate against piracy.
Yes, we must get rid of the bases of pirates to avoid attacks but the international community cannot rely only on a military option,” said Giorgio Starace, the Italian Ambassador to the UAE.
There must be economic and social change linked to Somalia’s recovery. Aid is not only for times of emergency. We need more engagement,” added Starace.
Somali pirates cost governments and the shipping industry up to US$6.9 billion last year, the advocacy group One Earth Future Foundation says.
Pirate attacks and ransom demands are common off Somalia’s coast because of its proximity to the Gulf of Aden, a shipping route through which 20 per cent of world trade passes.
This week, the European Union Naval Force conducted its first operation to destroy pirate equipment on the Somali coast, with the support of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. Until Tuesday, such operations were restricted to the waters off Somalia.