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UAE reports progress by Contact Group on Piracy of the Coast of Somalia

posted on 01/04/2012: 1306 views

New York - The past few months have been marked by continual progress on all fronts of the Contact Group on Piracy of the Coast of Somalia and its Working Groups; this progress has been marked around the four key priorities designated by the UAE for its chairmanship, Assistant Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs Faris Al-Mazroui told participants in the 11th Plenary Meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy of the Coast of Somalia in New York yesterday.

The New York meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy of the Coast of Somalia was chaired by the UAE.

The first key priority that the UAE set out to achieve through its plenary chairmanship was awareness-raising and public diplomacy measures, especially in the region, Al-Mazrouie said in opening remarks of the meeting.

The strong progress made on this front through Working Group 4, which met in New York yesterday, includes significant advances made on the Contact Group's public information strategy, he further said. "Furthermore, as a part of these efforts, the UAE is considering the possibility of making available an Arabic version of the Contact Group's website, so that the Group's work can be more accessible to the public in some of the region's most affected by Somali piracy." This initiative, he added, highlights what was the second of the UAE's key priorities for this plenary chairmanship: to emphasise the importance of engagement and ownership of this process by countries located in the region most affected by piracy.

The UAE, along with our neighbours in the region, has critical stakes in the freedom of movement on the western Indian Ocean, where piracy affects not only our seafarers, but our economies and its coastal security as well, he stressed.

Through measures such as diplomatic work, the UAE chairmanship of the Group's 11th meeting is aiming at raising the profile of the piracy problem amongst its regional neighbours and partners. From this emphasis on the region flow the other key priorities of the UAE's Plenary chairmanship this term, the senior official stressed.

Speaking on the second priority, Supporting Somalia, Al-Mazrouie said the piracy issue on the seas is integrally linked to the political and security situation on land in Somalia. It is the dire situation there that drives youth to the pirate life.

"This desperation stems directly from the humanitarian crises that Somalia faces, and is compounded by the country's challenging political situation. Now it is important that the international community does all it can to support the Somali authorities in bringing the current challenging situation there to an end. In this context, we commend the efforts made by all parties to support the capacity-building of Somalia." The UAE's third priority is, he said," to ensure the effective coordination of our international efforts and regional partnerships. In this respect, the Contact Group has been very successful this cycle, particularly noting how it has liaised with other concerned parties, maximising the outcome of events like the meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia, and the United Kingdom's recent, highly successful London Conference on Somalia.

The UAE encourages the continuation of this type of cooperation, which recognises the importance of integrating relevant work of other bodies, so that we achieve maximum results in terms of stability for Somalia." Finally, we must in this regard ensure that gains in political stability and economic development are sustainable is to support education within Somalia, which is among the key priorities for the UAE chairmanship.

The UAE believes that education can play a pivotal role in promoting a culture of peace and tolerance in the region, and the benefits of this will anchor advances made in other areas of the counter-piracy response.

These four core chairmanship priorities are reflected in the Plenary Communiqué, he noted adding that this collaborative process has yielded a document which both accurately reports on the Contact Group's achievements during this term, while also highlighting outstanding issues to perhaps inform the priorities of the working groups during the next Chairmanship term.

The accomplishments that the Contact Group has achieved in such a short amount of time, around two and a half years, are a testament to the hard work and dedication of its members. He thanked the working group chairs, for all their work in convening the working group meetings this plenary term and Spain, the incoming plenary chair for the 12th session of the Contact Group, and expressed the UAE's full support for their agenda.

Stressing that the fight against piracy is an ongoing one, the work of which is shared across the international community, the UAE senior official said "while the challenge that we face is great, we are making progress and now we have momentum. Together, we will all see the day when the last captured seafarer is released to his family, ships no longer fear the passing through the historic maritime community that has existed for centuries off the Coast of Somalia, and when the people of Somalia enjoy the full benefits of peace, security, and prosperity." - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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