EU Council Extends Somalia Counter-piracy Operation; OK’s Coastal Missions

March 23, 2012

The Council of the European Union has prolonged the EU’s counter-piracy operation Atalanta by two more years, until December 2014. The Council also said that the decision “extended the force’s area of operations to include Somali coastal territory as well as its territorial and internal waters.”

The operation’s main tasks are “the protection of vessels of the World Food Program delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia and the fight against piracy off the Somali coast,” said the announcement.

The extension of both the mission and the territory in which it can now operate will “enable Operation Atalanta to work directly with the Transitional Federal Government and other Somali entities to support their fight against piracy from the coastal area. In accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Somali government has notified the UN Secretary General of its acceptance of the EU’s offer for this new collaboration.”

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton stated: “Fighting piracy and its root causes is a priority of our action in the Horn of Africa. Operation Atalanta has made a significant contribution to this effort, in coordination with our international partners. Today’s important decision extends Atalanta’s mandate for two more years and allows it to take more robust action on the Somali coast.

“Despite pressure on defense budgets, EU member states thereby demonstrate their renewed commitment to this successful operation.”

€14.9 million [$19.75 million] has been budgeted for the common costs of the prolonged mandate. “Operation Atalanta is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach tackling symptoms and root causes of piracy in the Horn of Africa and of the EU strategic framework for that region adopted in November 2011. Its headquarters are in Northwood (United Kingdom) and, since August 2011, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts of the UK Royal Navy has been Operation Commander.”

Source: Council of the European Union

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