Piracy still a threat to regional security, says UAE paper

WAM ABU DHABI, 12th Sept, 2013 (WAM) — Despite a decline in pirate attacks launched from Somalia over the last two years, they remain a threat to regional security and global commerce. This important warning was issued by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, ahead of a conference on Counter Piracy, being hosted in Dubai.

A local newspaper commenting on the conference said that, UAE has a holistic approach to fighting piracy that can provide a useful framework for further international action against this scourge. It has targeted helping those countries that are not able to defend their maritime interests effectively, assisting them to build their capacity to enforce the law in their own waters.

The UAE has not only built facilities and provided material resources, but also assisted with needs assessments and the development of national maritime strategies.

“By boosting the maritime capacity of Somalia and its neighbours, the UAE has sustainably improved their ability to fight piracy, reducing the burden to do so on the international community, while securing global commerce. This is particularly important to the UAE, which is an international trading hub and a major oil exporter,” Gulf News commented.

The UAE has led by example. It has strengthened the capacity of its naval forces, security at its ports and prosecuted piracy-related offences to the full extent of the law.

However, the paper said that it must be remembered that piracy will always remain an option for those who do not have work or any hope of improving their lives. Security operations alone will never be enough and the UAE is also investing in the social and economic development of Somalia and building local security and legal systems.

“Unless Somalia becomes a functioning state that is able to provide its people with security, their basic needs and opportunities for the future, there will always be the danger of lawlessness. Ultimately, the battle against piracy on the seas can only be won by making Somalia a stable, prosperous land,” the paper concluded.