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25 August 2010 - Security Council - Somalia / Piracy - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, chargé d’affaires a.i. of France to the United Nations

(Unofficial translation)

Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, chargé d’affaires a.i. of France to the United Nations - Security Council: the situation inSomalia - 25 August 2010 - UN Photo / Paulo Filgueiras

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by expressing France’s strong condemnation of yesterday’s bloody attack in Mogadishu. France expresses its deepest condolences to the bereaved and reaffirms its full support for Somali institutions, notably the TFG and its president, Sheikh Sharif, as well as AMISOM. I also want to pay tribute to the governments of Uganda and Burundi for their work within the Force.

Mr. President,

I would like to thank the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Ms. O’Brien, for their presentation and the Permanent Representative of Somalia for his statement.

Pirates continue to pose a constant threat to the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Somali people and to the supply of AMISOM.

The deep-rooted causes of this phenomenon must naturally be sought on land. But in the medium term, it is security and development that will overcome piracy.

For now, however, pursuing a resolute military action off the coast of Somalia remains essential. This action has been greatly expanded since the first protection convoys were put in place by France in November 2007. In 2008, the Security Council established an essential legal framework to take action against pirates. The European Union - wich will deliver a statement fully endorsed by France - deployed the first naval operation of its history, Operation Atalanta, off the coast of Somalia. In addition to the EU, a large number of regional and bilateral partners are involved, coming from all continents.

The international community’s impressive mobilization has reduced the number of successful attacks threefold. This military tool is therefore effective and remains indispensable, even if it is not enough.

I want to insist, Mr. President, on the legal aspect of the fight against piracy, which is essential. As the Secretary-General has shown, piracy has a single definition that was set forth in the 1982 Montego Bay Convention, but different States have different legal tools to combat it, which makes cooperation difficult. Some 700 suspects were released in the first half of 2010 alone, and no doubt a large percentage of them should have been brought to court.

At this point I would like to thank the Russian presidency of the Security Council, which spearheaded Resolution 1918 last April, as well as today’s presidential statement and the Secretary-General’s report that we have here before us. This report presents the different options that can be considered. Our common objective is to strengthen the rule of law in Somalia and to establish the conditions that enable the Somalis themselves to try and imprison the pirates operating in their territorial waters.

In the short term, we encourage States in the region to conclude transfer agreements similar to the action that Kenya conducted in the Seychelles. Without such agreements, the deterrent effect of maritime actions is lessened. The States of the region are the main victims of deteriorating security off their coasts. The international community is deploying significant means at sea. Cooperation among the countries of the region with respect to trials and detentions would permit even to fight this scourge even more effectively.

In the medium term, the creation of a delocalized Somali court is however the option that seems the most apt in preparing for the future, although realistically, security conditions limit the number of pirates that can be tried in Somalia.

This discussion must continue. We will continue our deliberations within the contact group. It seems essential for the UN to continue its deliberations and for the Secretary-General to continue enlightening the Security Council.

From this perspective, I welcome the Secretary-General’s announcement of his intention to appoint a special adviser on the legal aspects of the fight against piracy. In the coming months, he could provide invaluable clarifications to the Secretary-General that could potentially lead to future recommendations to the Security Council.

I also want to note, Mr. President, that the Secretary-General’s report appropriately insists on the importance of imprisoning pirates. I welcome the actions of the UNODC and the UNDP, who are providing aid to Kenya and the Seychelles in particular, but also to the regions of Puntland and Somaliland. France especially hopes that the UNPD’s work in Puntland can be achieved quickly. France fully supports the fiduciary fund established by the contact group, which has already disbursed $2.4 million.

In conclusion, Mr. President, I want to emphasize that the Security Council’s action against piracy off the coast of Somalia is part of the Council’s broader comprehensive strategy on Somalia. In this regard, France reiterates its full support for the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Mahiga.

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