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Abdullah opens counter-piracy conference
Gulf Today
Thursday, September 12, 2013

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The UAE will continue to support all the initiatives taken by the Federal Government of Somalia and efforts made by the international community to ensure peace and development in Somalia, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Somalia is attracting international support and the UAE is committed to support it realise its vision to combat maritime piracy, which still requires serious efforts by international community,” he said.

Welcoming over 500 delegates representing over 50 countries at the opening ceremony of the 3rd UAE counter-piracy conference, which opened in Dubai on Wednesday, the minister said that the UAE has pledged $50 million for developmental projects in Somalia with confidence that this will contribute to providing a decent livelihood for Somali brothers.

The conference, held under the theme of Countering Maritime Piracy: Continued Efforts for Regional Capacity Building, is a public-private initiative co-convened by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, global marine terminal operator DP World and Abu Dhabi Port Company (ADPC).

It has attracted more than 500 government officials, industry leaders, academics and experts in maritime affairs from 50 countries including more than 20 minister-level government officials.

Among the senior government speakers at the conference were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs for the Netherlands, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Comoros.

Delivering the keynote address, the President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud expressed hope that this conference will address the root causes of piracy which are poverty, lack of functioning institutions in Somalia, lack of hope, and opportunities for the young people and addressing the real concerns on illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping in Somali waters.

Discussing the outcome of global efforts so far, Mohamud warned that the sign of relief cannot be taken for granted. “It is critical to note that the threat posed by the pirates remains. Initiatives taken so far are limited to addressing symptoms and real causes are yet to be uprooted,” he said.

He urged the international community to support the Somalian government sustain the progress it has made so far and not to allow for Somalia going backwards.

“The best way to deal with pirates is to empower the Federal Government of Somalia to reach out communities in these regions and to provide them alternative livelihoods, rehabilitation centres and to provide job opportunities. But due to capacity limitations in terms of resources, we are struggling to meet these demands,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bon Sulayem said that the annual conference, which started two years ago, opened the way for dialogue and coordination between the merchant and navy fleets to find solutions at sea, while bringing attention to the potential for public-private partnerships to solutions on shore.


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