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Piracy solution is new Somali navy, says ambassador

[ 2009-04-24 15:03]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Somali ambassador to China urged the international community yesterday to help Somalia build up its own navy, as it would offer a "final solution" to fight the rampant piracy.

In an interview with China Daily, Mohammed Awil questioned the effects of the international joint mission to guard the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, one of the world's busiest waterways.

"Piracy is a mosquito," Awil said, while noting what the international community has been doing - having international joint forces patrolling there - is like "sending elephants to kill mosquitoes".

Apart from combating piracy, Awil said a Somali navy would also help curb illegal fishing and dumping, two other major problems his country is faced with in the waters.

Pirate gangs operating along Somalia's 3,100-km coastline have become increasingly audacious over the past two years, hijacking dozens of merchant ships and their crews to earn ransoms that can top $1 million per ship, according to media reports.

Since late last year, more than 20 warships have been patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

But a spokeswoman for the US 5th Fleet said recently that at least 60 warships are needed to guard the gulf.

As a response, Awil said a big international presence would do little to resolve the problem, as "some members of the international community are passive (to join the mission)".

"They don't care," Awil said, noting that's why ships are still being hijacked this month even though international joint forces are patrolling the region.

Irresponsible patrolling "is encouraging pirates to attack more vessels. They are not afraid. It's like they have a green light to capture more ships," Awil said, but refused to specify which countries were irresponsible.

He only listed vessels from France, China, India and the Netherlands as those doing the best jobs in Somali waters.

"The final solution is for the international community to help build up Somalia's own responsibility over its waters," he said.

Awil noted his home country has well-trained personnel, so what they need is mainly fast and better boats.

But the diplomat also said he thought the international community lacks the solidarity to help his country build up its own navy, as some countries have an interest in keeping illegal fishing and dumping there.

Allegations of the dumping of toxic waste, as well as illegal fishing, have circulated since the early 1990s, according to Al Jazeera, the English version of the Arabic-language news network.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Piracy solution is new Somali navy, says ambassador

Piracy solution is new Somali navy, says ambassadorBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.