6 June 2012

Somalia: Dutch Minister Visits Puntland

Garowe — The Dutch Minister for International Cooperation and European Affairs visited Garowe, the capital of Puntland, on Wednesday, Radio Garowe reports.

Ben Knapen landed at Garowe airport early Wednesday, where he met with Vice President Abdisamad Ali Shire, Saeed Mohamed Ragge Minister of Ports and Counter Piracy and other Puntland officials.

Minister Knapen was accompanied and Dutch Major Gen. Leo Beulen and the director of operations of the Dutch Ministry of Defence.

Dutch Minister With Puntland Vice President Mr.Shire Photo(GAROWE ONLINE)

The officials met behind close doors and discussed the political and security situation in Puntland. Minister Ben Knapen visited the newly built investigation headquarters, where he was accompanied by Puntland officials, including State Minister of Planning Abdulkadir Abdi Hashi.

In a statement provided by the Dutch Minister, he said that more needs to be done to combat piracy, suggesting that prosecution and detention of pirates should be done locally after rule of law is strengthened. Late last month Puntland and Mauritius signed an agreement to temporarily hold convicted pirates, which was overseen by the EU and UNODC.

Ben Knapen visited IDP Camps in Garowe with Puntland Officials Photo(GAROWE ONLINE)

The Netherlands Minister promised that they would continue supporting international efforts to fight piracy particularly anti piracy operations just off the coast of Somalia.

Before departing to Addis Ababa, Minister Knapen visited an internally displaced peoples (IDP) camp and met with IPDs. In the year 2010 the Netherlands assisted Somalia with 9 million dollars. In Wednesday's statement Minister Knapen said, "There will also be limited expansion of development efforts in Somalia in the coming years."

The peaceful end of the transitional government and stabilization were key issues to the Dutch policy towards Somlia.

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