Somalia: State Dept. On U.S. As 2013 Chair of Counter-Piracy Contact Group

press release

In 2013, the United States will chair the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, a partnership of nearly 80 countries and international organizations that has been working since 2009 to turn the tide on maritime crime along one of the world's busiest shipping corridors.

In a communiqué following their December 11, 2012 meeting in New York, the Contact Group noted continued significant reductions in attacks and hijackings and called for a renewed international commitment to combating piracy through military, law enforcement, and development activities. Among its recommendations, the Contact Group:

- Stressed the need for greater cooperation between all stakeholders, including states, relevant organizations, and the private sector for the prosecution of pirates, as well as for the liberation of seafarers from pirate captivity.

- Called on Somali authorities to develop a detailed maritime security strategy to facilitate close cooperation with the international community to disrupt and counter pirate activity.

- Underlined the need to maintain present levels of operational activity, coordination and force generation in order to keep pressure on pirates and consolidate recent gains.

- Recognized the need to strengthen mechanisms to prosecute pirates apprehended off the coast of Somalia and reiterated the urgent need to investigate and prosecute anyone who incites or intentionally facilitates piracy operations.

- Noted the importance of ongoing work to dismantle piracy networks, with particular focus on the leaders, financers and enablers of piracy.

Full text of the Contact Group's communiqué is available on the Department of State website at: http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/othr/misc/202270.htm.

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