US warship in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia. The piracy of cargo ships have been a major source of distress for commercial tankers over the last several months., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 07:25 pm
SOMALIA: Defense minister says “foreign hands” were helping Somali pirates
MOGADISHU- Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamud Fiqi said pirates in his country are backed by foreign states which seek to undermine security and stability in the African country, and meantime said Iran can improve law and order along Somali coasts.
Speaking in an interview with FNA on Tuesday, Fiqi pointed to the possibility of the link between Somali pirates and Al-Qaeda terrorist network, and stated, “That is possible … it is clear that these groups are funded by foreign parties and governments but they seem to be seeking to weaken the country’s security and stability in a bid to gain financial wealth by hijacking vessels which are passing through Somalia’s coastal waters.”
The minister stressed the Somali government’s opposition to piracy, and added that Mogadishu plans to boost its naval forces in a bid to confront piracy.
He called on the international community to support Somalia’s Navy as part of a plan to end piracy in the region.
He pointed to Iran’s naval presence in the Gulf of Aden to confront piracy, and said, “We appreciate the efforts made by Iran as a friendly and Muslim country and believe that Iran can improve the presently disordered situation in Somali coasts in the framework of bilateral agreements and on the basis of the two countries’ interests.”
The Iranian Navy dispatched several fleets of warships to the Gulf of Aden and North of the Indian Ocean to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.
The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.
According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.
The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West through the Suez Canal.