vrijdag 23 maart 2012

EU extends counter piracy mission off coast of Somalia; will include coastal territory and internal waters

On Friday 23 March 2012 the Council of the European Union confirmed its intention to extend the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) counter-piracy mission, Operation ATLANATA off the Somali coast until December 2014.  At the same time the Council also extended the area of operations to include Somali coastal territory and internal waters. 

Today’s decision will enable Operation Atalanta Forces to work directly with the Transitional  Federal Government and other Somali entities to support their fight against piracy in the coastal areas.  In accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Somali government has notified the UN Secretary General of its acceptance of the EU’s offer for this new collaboration.

Speaking about the extension of the mandate and area of operations, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, who is the Operational Commander of the EU Naval Force, said “The extension of the mandate until the end of 2014 confirms the EU’s commitment to fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa.    Piracy has caused so much misery to the Somali people and to the crews of ships transiting the area and it is right that we continue to move forward in our efforts”.

(source: EUNAVFOR, 23 maart 2012)

Council extends EU counter-piracy operation Atalanta

The Council today prolonged the EU's counter-piracy operation Atalanta by two more years, that is until December 2014. The main tasks of the mission are the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia and the fight against piracy off the Somali coast.

Today's decision also extended the force's area of operations to include Somali coastal territory as well as its territorial and internal waters. This is to enable Operation Atalanta to work directly with the Transitional Federal Government and other Somali entities to support their fight against piracy from the coastal area. In accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Somali government has notified the UN Secretary General of its acceptance of the EU's offer for this new collaboration.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said: "Fighting piracy and its root causes is a priority of our action in the Horn of Africa. Operation Atalanta has made a significant contribution to this effort, in coordination with our international partners. Today's important decision extends Atalanta's mandate for two more years and allows it to take more robust action on the Somali coast. Despite pressure on defence budgets, EU member states thereby demonstrate their renewed commitment to this successful operation."

A budget of EUR 14.9 million is provided for the common costs of the prolonged mandate.

(source: Council of the European Union, 23 March 2012)

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