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By NWV News Director, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
December 18, 2008's news director participated in a United Nations press conference on Tuesday regarding the passage of a resolution that is sure to cause distress to many conservatives in the United States.

The United Nations Security Council announced that it decided that, for the next year, States and regional organizations cooperating in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia’s coast -- for which prior notification had been provided by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to the Secretary-General -- could undertake all necessary measures “appropriate in Somalia”, to interdict those using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake such acts.

While many observers believe piracy should be curtailed with all the force necessary, they also believe it is not the role of the UN to decide when or where such action is appropriate.

"The United Nations Security Council is not in-charge of sovereign countries and they shouldn't be the organization that allows such actions," said political strategist Mike Baker.

"I'm all for using adequate force against terrorists and pirates, but I'm not for gaining the blessings of a corrupt organization such as the United Nations," said Baker.

Acting under Chapter VII through the unanimous adoption of United States-led resolution 1851 (2008), the Council called on those States and organizations able to do so to actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes, following on a 9 December 2008 letter from the Transitional Federal Government for international assistance to counter the surge in piracy and armed robbery there.

The Council invited all such States and regional organizations to conclude special agreements or arrangements with countries willing to take custody of pirates in order to embark law enforcement officials, known as “shipriders,” from the latter countries to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of persons detained as a result of operations conducted under this resolution.

In a related provision, those States and regional organizations were encouraged to establish an international cooperation mechanism to act as a common point of contact among them on all aspects of that fight.

The Council affirmed that the authorization provided in the resolution applied only to the situation in Somalia and did not affect the rights or obligations or responsibilities of Member States under international law, including under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, with respect to any other situation. It underscored that the resolution did not establish customary international law.

Following adoption of the resolution, the Secretary-General, briefing the Council on the political and security situation, said he shared the deep concern of Member States at the escalation of piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast and he welcomed the Council’s actions, adding that he was particularly impressed by the actions of Member States and international organizations to pool their efforts and resources to fight that scourge.

However, he said that everyone must be mindful that piracy was a symptom of the state of anarchy that had persisted in Somalia for more than 17 years. Anti-piracy efforts, therefore, must be placed in the context of a comprehensive approach that fostered an inclusive peace process in Somalia and assisted the parties to rebuild security, governance capacity, addressed human rights issues and harnessed economic opportunities throughout the country.


He appealed to the leaders and Somali people to give peace a chance and put the 17 years of war behind them, and to the international community to send a positive signal today to the Somali people and the African Union that it was willing to provide a security path that would complement the political compromises reached through the Djibouti process, he said, adding “we must act before it is too late.”

Turning to security arrangements, he stressed that the most appropriate response to the complex security challenges in Somalia was a multinational force, rather than a typical peacekeeping operation. But, in the absence of adequate pledges for a multinational force, he would propose to the Council three concrete measures that would provide the necessary security arrangements in support of the Djibouti process. If successful, those would pave the way for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, in keeping with resolution 1814 (2008).

The objective was to stabilize Somalia and find a durable solution to the crisis in that country, and he said he was of the view that strengthening the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through, among other things, the provision of financing, logistical support, necessary training and equipment and other reinforcements, facilitated by the United Nations and Member States, was the realistic option at present. He was, however, continuing contingency planning for the deployment of a fully fledged United Nations peacekeeping operation at the appropriate time and under the right conditions, and he would soon provide a detailed report to the Council covering those proposals.

The UN resolution won unanimous support, with most Council members saying they had voted in favor of the text because they sought robust action to address that serious threat off Somalia’s coast and they welcomed the practical measures that had been agreed. The need to address the root of the piracy problem -- namely the poverty and lawlessness that had plagued Somalia for decades -- and to not look at it through the prism of international trade alone was also emphasized. Still other speakers underscored that actions to combat the dangerous phenomenon must conform to international law standards, including the Law of the Sea Convention.

The Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, whose mission had been on the ground in Somalia for the past two years, said the twin problems of piracy and terrorism were a symptom of a larger problem: lawlessness in south central Somalia, which must be addressed. He cautioned that, if Somalia were allowed to sink, while partners in the international community were mobilizing tremendous assets to combat piracy, world security would be severely undermined.

He called for additional political support for AMISOM and reiterated his support for a fully fledged United Nations peacekeeping mission in Somalia as soon as possible, which would incorporate an enhanced AMISOM. He urged the Council to take decisive steps to avoid a security vacuum, pledging that the African Union was ready to make additional sacrifices in Somalia, within the context of more effective international support.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia said his country had no capacity to interdict or patrol its long coastline to ensure the security of the sea, but it had cooperated with the international community in that fight and it would continue to do so fully, now and in the future. That was why it supported resolution 1851.

However, he stressed the importance of adopting a comprehensive and holistic strategy to the Somalia problem -- as piracy and terrorism and the humanitarian emergency were part of the whole problem that existed since the collapse of the Government in 1991. If that premise was accepted, there should be no difficulty in seeing a real way to tackling piracy and real instability in his country.

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The most effective way was for the Security Council to take immediate measures, hopefully before the end of the year, when AMISOM’s mandate was to be reviewed -- to authorize a robust peacekeeping operation, he asserted. The undermanned AMISOM contingent could become the nucleus of that new United Nations force. The aim should be to strengthen the Somali State by strengthening its security forces through the provision of forces, training and equipment.

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Acting under Chapter VII through the unanimous adoption of United States-led resolution 1851 (2008), the Council called on those States and organizations able to do so to actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft...