The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Friday to allow international naval forces to continue using all necessary means to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia – but only for the next three months as the Somali government says That there has been no incident of piracy for more than four years and it is time to end the operation.
The council was renewing the authority for regional organizations and countries to fight against piracy and armed robbery off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation for 12 months. But this year the Somali government, which requires consent, objected to another annual renewal sought by the United States, which drafted the resolution, and agreed only after three months of talks with the US and other council members. Done.
“We believe that the Security Council resolutions on piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia have successfully achieved their intended purpose,” Abukar Dahir Osman, the UN ambassador to Somalia, told the council after the vote.
He said that 13 years after the adoption of the Council’s first resolution to fight piracy, the milestone of “four years in a row of no piracy incident and no piracy hostage” held in Somalia was held in Somalia’s ownership of the problem. A true testament to the federal government of the United States, in addition to our hard work in collaboration with our international partners.”
Osman added that Somalia “will help us with maritime security, which is the only sustainable way to preserve our hard-earned gains,” three of the mandates to allow the transition to a bilateral arrangement within Somali national waters. Agreed to extend the month.
The Security Council resolution welcomed a steady decline in ship hijackings off the coast of Somalia since 2011 and no successful hijackings for ransom since March 2017. But it has acknowledged the “ongoing threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea are resuming,” citing the report of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia, which it says states that piracy has been “repressed but not eradicated.”
The resolution commends the efforts of EU naval forces operating from Somalia, which was launched in December 2008, as well as African Union counter-piracy activities in Somalia and other naval efforts in the region including China, India, Japan appreciates. , South Korea and Russia.
Three decades of chaos – from warlords to the emergence of al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab and Islamic State-affiliated groups – have torn Somalia, which has only begun to rebuild and find its footing in the past few years. Have given. The pressure on President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to hold the election has intensified since the elections were scheduled for February 8.
Noting reforms in Somalia, the Security Council said it “also believes that piracy adds to instability in Somalia by introducing large amounts of illicit cash that fuels additional crime, corruption and terrorism.”
Asked after the meeting what would happen to naval operations when the Council’s mandate expires in three months, Niger’s UN Ambassador Abdu Abri, who is the current Council chairman, told the Associated Press: “We will continue to negotiate. , and we will await the outcome of the talks between Somalia and the African Union.”
France’s political coordinator, Sheraz Gasri, told the council that three months was too short to allow the EU and others to continue naval operations “under reasonable circumstances”.
“There is a risk of a security void, which would be catastrophic for Somalia and the region as a whole,” she warned. “Indeed, the operation is not limited to restricting piracy, it is also stopping the smuggling of arms and weapons to Shabab and the protection of boats for food supplies and humanitarian aid supplies to Somalia.”
Gasri said France would continue to listen to the Somali authorities and “notes their willingness to coordinate the fight against piracy.” In return, she said, France asks that Somalia recognize that such developments require “joint efforts” and that maritime security cannot be separated from the country’s overall security transition.
Ireland’s UN ambassador Geraldine Byrne Naison echoed France’s concern about the threat to EU operations, which she called “significant”.