Wednesday, June 17, 2009

European Union Extends Somalia Anti-Pirate Mission Until End of 2010

LUXEMBOURG 15 June 2009 Sapa-dpa


European Union warships are to keep facing down pirates off the
coast of Somalia until at least the end of 2010, EU foreign
ministers decided Monday.

The EU's operation Atalanta had originally been mandated to run
until the end of this year, but EU foreign ministers meeting in
Luxembourg agreed to extend it by a year.

The mission currently consists of 11 warships, three spotter
planes and two supply ships from Sweden, Spain, Germany, France,
Greece and Italy.

Since the operation began in December, EU-flagged vessels have
detained over 50 suspected pirates, whom they have handed over to
the Kenyan authorities in line with a deal concluded in March.

They have also escorted two dozen aid ships from the World Food
Programme, allowing the delivery of 130,000 tons of supplies to
help Somalia's civilian population, according to official figures.

On May 20, the bloc extended Atalanta's geographical scope to
cover the Seychelles, which are also suffering from a surge in

Monday's decision comes three days after NATO defence ministers
meeting in Brussels agreed to send a separate mission of up to
eight warships known as Ocean Shield to the Horn of Africa.

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