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Kenya calls for commitment to eradicate piracy off Somalia coast

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Kenya on Thursday hosted an estimated 200 delegates from 68 countries amid renewed pledge to support innovative strategies aimed at eradicating the menace of piracy along the Somalia coastline.

The 21st Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) that was attended by ministers, diplomats and security experts vowed to inject fresh impetus on efforts to contain maritime security threats in Somalia and the western Indian Ocean territory.

Raychelle Omamo, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Defense, said in her opening remarks at the forum that a re-invigorated approach to eradicate piracy in Somalia waters is critical to boost economic growth and stability in the Horn of Africa state.

“We must enhance collaboration to eliminate the challenge of piracy and other maritime security threats that are in many ways linked to under-development in Somalia and the Horn of Africa region,” Omamo said.

She noted that Kenya has rallied behind multinational efforts aimed at thwarting attacks on commercial vessels plying along the Somalia coastline.

Omamo emphasized that skills upgrade for Somalia Coast guard, cross-border intelligence sharing and investments in livelihood projects is key to eradicate piracy in Somalia waters.

“There is need to address the root causes of piracy that happens to be poverty, weak governance and inadequate policing,” said Omamo.

“Empowering jobless youth living in Somalia coastline will also discourage them from participating in piracy and other maritime crimes,” she added.

The Kenyan government in conjunction with multilateral partners hosted the three-day summit that is expected to come up with a comprehensive roadmap to revitalize the war against piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, the Mauritius Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chair of Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, said that a new paradigm shift was an imperative in order to defeat the menace of piracy and other maritime crimes along the Somalia coastline.

“The time is ripe to explore long-term solution to the piracy crisis in Somalia and momentum will be sustained if we prioritize investment in community livelihood projects and strengthening of maritime security through enhanced policing,” Lutchmeenaraidoo remarked.

He noted that international collaboration on maritime security coupled with capacity building of Somalia Coastguard and public awareness has led to a sharp drop in hijacking of commercial vessels.

Ahmed Kheyr Abdulkadir, the Somalia minister for foreign affairs, said Mogadishu has developed a robust counter-piracy strategy that blends military strength, diplomacy and community engagement to eradicate piracy.

“We are strengthening the capacity of coast guard to protect our waters while tackling illegal fishing and poverty that drives Somalia youth to piracy,” Abdulkadir said.


Countries resolve to revitalize war against piracy off Somalia Coast

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — The 21st Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPS) ended in Nairobi on Friday with delegates from 68 nations endorsing a communiqué to chart a new roadmap to eradicate the menace in the Horn of African nation.

Kenya and its multilateral partners hosted the three-day high-level forum to discuss new strategies to contain the menace of piracy along Somalia and Western Indian Ocean coastlines that was attended by ministers, diplomats and security experts.

The delegates in their joint communiqué acknowledged that piracy remains a huge maritime threat that has undermined economic growth, peace and stability in Somalia.

“We welcome continued efforts by the international community to combat and deter piracy off the coast of Somalia while acknowledging the threat though suppressed has not been eradicated,” said the delegates.

The Nairobi summit in its final communiqué proposed a raft of measures geared towards eradicating maritime security threats in Somalia.

Among the resolutions that were endorsed include robust engagement of state and non-state actors like industry and civil society at regional and global levels to contain piracy in Somalia waters.

Likewise, delegates pledged support for a UN-funded counter piracy initiatives that provide technical assistance to countries in the eastern African region to enhance arrest and prosecution of culprits.

“The plenary reiterated its support to the UN Trust Fund to support initiatives of states countering piracy off the coast of Somalia and called for its continuation,” said the communiqué.

Delegates rallied behind other innovative measures like economic empowerment of coastal communities as well as improved governance and investment in surveillance infrastructure to defeat the menace of piracy in the Somalia coastline.

“Continued international naval presence as well as action on illegal fishing and other maritime crimes should inform counter-piracy activities in Somalia and Western Indian ocean coastlines,” said the Communiqué.

Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, the Mauritius minister for foreign affairs and chair of Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, said the Nairobi summit endorsed an enlarged mandate for the international community to hasten the momentum towards a piracy free Somalia.

“We agreed that a long-term solution to the piracy menace in Somalia is needed and realization of that goal will be hinged on enhanced collaboration alongside provision of alternative livelihood for vulnerable youth,” Vishnu said.

He stressed that investments in the blue economy that guarantees shared prosperity will boost response to maritime threats facing Somalia and neighboring countries.


Kenya and the United States call for more efforts
to stabilize Somalia and South Sudan situations

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Kenya and the United States on Wednesday called for more efforts to stabilize Somalia and South Sudan, saying regional stability is crucial for economic development.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenya and Thomas Waldhauser, commander of the U.S.-Africa Command (Africom), renewed their commitment to peace in the two countries.

Kenyatta, who held talks with Waldhauser, said political turmoil in South Sudan has been made worse by unwarranted fear and mistrust between supporters of President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar.

“We shall give it everything we can. But it is not going to be easy,” Kenyatta said in reference to South Sudan, according to a statement issued after the meeting in Nairobi.

The Kenyan leader said Kenya is firmly committed to the cause of finding peace in Somalia, an aspiration that has in the past been negated by lack of adequate capacity, and proper military commands.

Kenyatta said there is need to make both South Sudanese President Kiir and rebel leader Machar to truly appreciate the benefits of working together, adding that regional countries are committed to keeping pressure on the two leaders to work together for the benefit of the people of South Sudan.

Kenyatta said Somalia faces further challenges of mistrust and internal politics between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and regional governments.

“The deteriorating relationships between the TFG and the regional governments are of major concern to us,” he said, adding that the conflict is a major security threat to Kenya and the region at large.

He called for structures that will enable the TFG to work with the regional governments, urging its leadership to refocus its attention and energies into addressing issues that cause national divisions and avoid being drawn into partisan distractions.

Waldhauser, for his part, underscored the need for Somalia to strengthen its leadership structures, adding that the instability is partly due to indirect interference from certain Gulf countries, according to the statement.

“We are ready to continue assisting the country so long as the federal government is willing to accept our support,” Waldhauser said.

He called for neutrality from Gulf countries.

“The differences and clashes in these Arabian countries are playing out in Somalia. We call for their neutrality,” Waldhauser said.

Relations between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates have been strained since mid-2017, when Mogadishu defied UAE and Saudi pressure to cut ties with Qatar following a diplomatic dispute between the Gulf neighbors.

Source : coastweek