The UN Security Council voted a resolution authorising countries fighting piracy off the Somali coast to carry out operations on Somalia's territory and in its airspace, subject to approval by its government.
AFP - The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a US resolution authorizing for the first time international operations against pirates on land in Somalia.
The text, co-sponsored by Belgium, France, Greece, Liberia and South Korea, is the fourth approved by the council since June to combat rampant piracy off Somalia's coast.
Resolution 1851 authorizes for one year states already involved in fighting piracy off Somalia to "take all necessary measures that are appropriate in Somalia" to suppress "acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea."
Unlike previous resolutions, the current text empowers states combating piracy to conduct operations on land in Somalia.
However to overcome objections from countries such as Indonesia, the sponsors dropped an earlier reference in the text to "ashore" or "including in its (Somalia) airspace."
The vote took place at a high-profile ministerial session attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Chinese deputy foreign minister He Yafei and UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
"This is an important additional tool to combat those who plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy from the territory of Somalia," Miliband said. "The UK considers that any use of force must be both necessary and proportionate."
The text also calls upon states and international organizations "to establish an international cooperation mechanism to act as a common point of contact between and among states on all aspects of combating piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia's coast ... (and to consider) creating a center in the region to coordinate information relevant to piracy off the coast of Somalia."
Somali pirates hold at least 17 ships, including an arms-laden Ukrainian cargo vessel and a Saudi supertanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil.
NATO has also dispatched naval forces to the region, joining other national navies in place, but increasingly bold and well-equipped pirates have continued their attacks.
The pirates have carried out more than 100 attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean since the start of this year.
Date created : 2008-12-16