UAE stresses full support to counter piracy off the Coast of Somalia

New York: The United Arab Emirates has stressed its full support to develop the capacity of Somali national forces, especially its coast guard following the end of the transitional period in August with the aim of countering piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

Abdulkhaleq Bin-Dhaaer Al-Yafei, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of UAE to the United Nations announced this yesterday before the 12th Plenary Meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia at the UN headquarters here in New York.

Following is the full speech of Al-Yafei, Mr. President, I would first like to express on behalf of the United Arab Emirates our thanks to Spain, for chairing this 12th Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. As the 11th Chair of this important group, the UAE is aware of the significance of this undertaking, and the efforts that go into it.

2012 has been a year of great opportunity for the international community’s collective response to piracy off the coast of Somalia. High-level international commitment to achieving a lasting solution to the piracy problem has been repeatedly demonstrated: as leaders from government and industry have come together in meetings in London, Istanbul, Dubai, and this month in Perth, to seek ways to enhance the collective response.

At sea, the robust and admirable international counter-piracy naval operations and private maritime sector’s increasing development of self-protection measures has significantly reduced pirate attack and the success of attempted hijack.

On land, sustained international engagement and the continued efforts of Somali and AMISOM forces on the ground has led to progress in the security situation in Somalia, and facilitated political progress in the country that was hardly imagined in previous years. In this respect, the signature of the Dubai Declaration’ between President Sharif of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, and President Silanyo of Somaliland, on the sidelines of the UAE’s second high-level public-private counter-piracy conference last month, opening the door for potential reconciliation and a comprehensive agreement on Somalia’s political future, is testament to this new era.

This comprehensive progress has been translated into the figures: this month, the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre reported a dramatic 54 per cent decrease in incidents of piracy off the Coast of Somalia from 2011 to 2012, year on year.

This progress should be cause for optimism for the future for all parties: the international effort will overcome the global threat posed by maritime piracy.

The UAE’s second public-private counter-piracy conference, held under the title A Regional Response to Maritime Piracy: Enhancing Public-Private Partnerships and Strengthening Global Engagement, was a part of this comprehensive international effort.

The Conference was an opportunity for high-level delegates from government and the global maritime industry to reflect on the progress made. But it also presented an opportunity for the international community to look to the challenges ahead: as Somalia and regional states, and the global maritime industry, called upon the international community to ensure that the counter-piracy response can be turned in a long-term cure.