Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 19

NATO works with Somali officials

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 15 agosto 2009

London: Regional government and law enforcement representatives from Somalia visited the NATO flagship HMS CORNWALL yesterday off the port of Boosaaso. The delegation, headed by the Minister of Ports and Marine Transport, Mr Abdil Irazaq Gaaiyte met the NATO Task Force Commander, Commodore Steve Chick CBE Royal Navy. The meeting was the first direct engagement between the Boosaaso authorities and the NATO Task Force since its arrival in the region on 29 Jun 09. The purpose of the visit was to establish a working relationship between NATO, the Government, Bari regional authorities and local law enforcement agencies.  Following briefs by both parties much common ground and opportunity to co-operate further was identified.  One area of co-operation that can be quickly implemented is the exchange of information between the counter piracy forces ashore and those at sea.  Whilst NATO and other international forces are able to deter and disrupt pirate attacks far out at sea, real success will only be achieved if the pirates can be stopped before they depart from the beaches in the first place.  That is where the potential for frequent and rapid exchanges of information between NATO and the shore authorities will be key.  Early information about pirate movements from the coast will better enable warships to intercept them prior to them reaching their victims, often in the international shipping lanes.  Reciprocal information from NATO warships can be of great value in enabling pirates to be captured by shore authorities as they return from their attempts at piracy. During the meeting, Abdiwahid Mohamed Hersi, Director General of Fisheries, Ports and Marine Resources, explained the damage that piracy was inflicting on the country as a whole.  The spread of crime inland, the soaring coast of commodities, and the damage to traditional Somali society all have their roots in piracy.   It is as a result of these issues and the need to secure the safety of shipping in the Gulf of Aden that NATO has deployed one of its 2 Standing Maritime Groups to the region.  The original mission ‘Operation Allied Protector’ commenced in Mar 09 in support of UN Security Council Resolutions was focused on deterrence and disruption of pirate attacks. The overall aim was to safeguard navigation in the sea lanes adjacent to Somalia.  The opportunity was not missed to help protect vessels engaged with the World Food Programme, delivering vital humanitarian aid to the needy ashore.  With the increase of piracy and threat to the strategically important sea lanes NATO is now looking to the future and seeking to work with local law enforcement agencies to build up regional capacity.

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