Resolutions Achieved Goal of Decreasing Attacks, Key Representative Says, But Hopes Future Assistance Aligns with Somali Priorities
The Security Council today renewed for an additional three months its authorization for States and regional organizations cooperating with Somalia to use all necessary means to fight piracy off the coast of the East African country.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2608 (2021) (to be issued as document S/RES/2608(2021)), the Council decided, for a further period of three months from the date of the resolution, to renew the authorizations, as set out in resolution 2554 (2020), granted to States and regional organizations cooperating with Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, for which advance notification has been provided by Somali authorities to the Secretary-General.
In addition, it expressed its intention to review the situation and consider, as appropriate, renewing the authorizations provided in paragraph 14 for additional periods upon the request of the Somali authorities.
The Security Council welcomed that there were no successful piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia in the prior 12 months and noted that joint counter-piracy efforts have resulted in a steady decline in pirate attacks and hijackings since 2011, as well as no successful ship hijackings for ransom since March 2017. However, it also recognized the ongoing threat of resurgent piracy and armed robbery at sea, noting the letter of 2 December 2021 from the Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Somalia to the United Nations requesting international assistance to counter piracy off its coast.
The Council also called upon the Somali authorities to interdict, and upon interdiction to have mechanisms in place to safely return effects seized by pirates, investigate and prosecute pirates and to patrol the waters off the coast of Somalia to prevent and suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
In addition, it encouraged the Federal Government of Somalia to accede to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and develop a corresponding legal architecture as part of its efforts to target money laundering and financial support structures on which piracy networks survive.
The Council decided that the arms embargo on Somalia imposed in resolution 733 (1992), further elaborated upon in resolution 1425 (2002) and modified by resolution 2093 (2013) does not apply to supplies of weapons and military equipment or the provision of assistance destined for the sole use of Member States, international, regional and subregional organizations undertaking measures most recently reaffirmed by resolution 2607 (2021).
It also urged all States to share information with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) for use in the global piracy database, through appropriate channels.
Sheraz Gasri (France), speaking in explanation of vote, said the three-month-timeline risked creating a security vacuum that might be disastrous for Somalia as well as the region as a whole. The European Union’s efforts do not just fight piracy, but also stop weapons and arms trafficking and enable humanitarian assistance to be delivered to Somalia, she pointed out. Maritime security cannot be separated from the transition in security in 2023. She expressed hope that an agreement will be reached on the reconfiguration of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which was intended to take place in September.
Andre Lipand (Estonia) also noted that the short length of the adopted mandate could adversely affect the operating conditions of the European Union’s Operation Atalanta. “The bottom line is we should avoid hasty decisions, which would risk creating a security vacuum,” he said, emphasizing the need to remain vigilant and thoroughly think through the next steps. While acknowledging Somalia’s wish to update the mandate, he also called for their understanding when planning for it.
Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland), while highlighting that no piracy has been reported over the past year due to long-term efforts, underscored that risks have not been eradicated. She expressed regret that the mandate was renewed only for three months. Such a short time frame could threaten the continuation of the European Union’s Operation Atalanta, which conducts crucial anti-piracy operations in that region.
Abukar Dahir Osman (Somalia) said the Council’s resolutions have successfully achieved their intended objective. There has been no piracy-related incident for the fourth consecutive year thanks to the efforts of the Federal Government in collaboration with the international community. His delegation consented to the three-month technical rollover to allow his country’s transition to a bilateral maritime cooperation framework, which is the only way to preserve hard-won gains. Welcoming the planned permanent closure of the trust fund of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia this month, he said it is neither inclusive nor useful as its work is not aligned with the Federal Government’s strategic priorities. That is why Somalia last year indefinitely withdrew its support for and participation from any future activities of the Contact Group.
Thanking donors for their contributions over the past decade to the trust fund, he expressed hope that future assistance be aligned with Somali priorities. “As you all are aware, piracy is only one of the many threats” in Somali territorial waters, he said, stressing the need to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in its exclusive economic zone. His delegation’s decision to explore other avenues is guided by national priorities. The militarization of Somali national waters has helped eradicate piracy over the years, but continuing this militarization has nothing to do with piracy and armed robbery, he stressed.
The meeting began at 2:02 p.m. and ended at 2:16 p.m.
* The 8916th Meeting was closed.