On the 7 Aug 12 a number of influential Somali community representatives were invited to speak with the European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta (EU NAVFOR) at Northwood Headquarters, UK.
Rear Admiral Duncan Potts welcomed the opportunity to bring together a community focused on improving the situation in Somalia and sharing information relevant to the Counter Piracy operation. Amongst other topics sustainable fishing and the fishing community off Somalia was discussed.
Omer Ahmed, a Somali lawyer who gave a presentation during the session, said:
"I am extremely pleased that EU NAVFOR recognises the importance of working with the Somali diaspora to identify viable solutions to the scourge of maritime piracy. The briefing session held at Northwood on 7 August 2012, facilitated an exchange of ideas and enabled us to share a Somali perspective on long terms solutions. Rear Admiral Duncan Potts and his team are to be commended for the leadership and foresight in developing a more nuanced and intelligent approach to its counter piracy work mandate. Building trust and mutual support between Operation Atalanta and Somali communities is the most effective means of generating sustainable land based solutions to supplement counter piracy activities off the Somali coast. The Somali diaspora applauds the current efforts to widen and deepen engagement with Somali communities."
The recent Somali elections offer a prime opportunity to move the Counter-Piracy campaign forward and it is hoped that, by working closely with the Somali population, EU NAVFOR will continue to make progress with its Counter-Piracy campaign.