Wednesday, March 07, 2012

European Delegation Visits Puntland in Somalia

European delegation visit Puntland in Somalia

Wed Mar 7, 2012 1:45PM GMT

European representatives have arrived in Somalia's autonomous state of Puntland to assess EU funded anti-piracy projects in the region, Press TV reports.

Thirty-three representatives from UK, Norway, Denmark and Netherland are visiting the city of Growe in Puntland on Monday, a Press TV correspondent reported.

According to Puntland Counter-piracy Director Abdirizak Mohamed Ahmed Ducaysane, the European delegation plans to review anti- piracy measures in the region, which cost them millions of dollars to fight Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

However, Somali government official say that the main reason for the visit is to sign a secret oil deal between Europe and Puntland.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that any deal will be illegal and must be signed with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Somalia.

Puntland has been transformed into a notorious base used by local pirates to launch attacks on merchant vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia is one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced people in the world.

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