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7 octobre 2008 - Somalie / Pirates : Stakeout de M. Jean-Maurice Ripert

à la suite du vote de la résolution 1883

We are very happy to report that the Security Council unanimously voted in favour of the draft resolution that was presented by France ; with. many other co-sponsors from all the regions of the world, including the major maritime powers. This resolution allows for a surge in the fight against piracy.

You know that resolution 1816 was calling for the fight against piracy. This resolution 1838 is very precisely and clearly calling on the member States of the United Nations to fight the pirates by any means, under the chapter VII.

We also answered a call of the Somalian authorities, who sent a letter to the Security Council requesting the assistance of the international community to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the high seas off the coast of Somalia.

At the end of the year, 3,5 million people will be depending only on the World Food Program and international assistance. It means that today, pirates are killing Somalis every day, they are killing the Somali people, little by little. We have to address this global threat. This is possible right now.

The initiative was launched, as you know, by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. He decided last November to start protecting the boats of the World Food Program on a bilateral basis, then the Dutch have done it, Denmark has done it, Canada is doing it right now. But now it will be organized and there is a coordination cell which has been created in Brussels and we hope to have a European Union military mission off the coast of Somalia, if possible decided and launched at the end of the year under the French presidency of the EU. So we are very satisfied by the rapidity with which the Security Council has responded to our request for assistance on behalf of the Somali people.

Looking to the two resolutions, there is a difference that in this one, in paragraph 3, you are very specific : countries can use their navies and their air forces in the high seas and in the air space off the coast of Somalia. Is that why you had this new resolution, to make it clear ?

And we call for the States to do it. The Security Council is addressing a request to the member States to react and to act. It means very clearly and very concretely that you can use force against the pirates, that it’s legal.

We also say that it doesn’t change, of course the international law, and we think it’s in conformity with the international convention on the law of the sea, and it’s in conformity with resolution 1816.

But now we state very clearly that under chapter VII, member States can use force against the pirates. You know what it means. And I think it’s a very clear signal that is addressed to the pirates.

Mr. Ambassador, how do you respond to the appeal by the South African ambassador that the piracy is one of Somalia’s major problem, but that the Security Council should exert efforts to solve the overall problem of Somalia ?

Yes, we fully agree with him, I said it publicly. I took the floor and I said that we supported what he said. Of course, he’s right, it’s only one of the problems. But once again, does that mean that we should stop any effort against the pirates, as long as we don’t have a stabilization force in Somalia ? We don’t think so. We think we should act now, with determination, on what we can act upon.

And then we will of course speed up the process as much as possible, for the deployment of a stabilization force, and then, if possible, of a peacekeeping operation.

But you know the UN : it will take time. So we don’t just seat and wait. Once again, 3,5 million people are depending on food and humanitarian assistance. We have to address this issue.

Ambassador, you mentioned a proposed EU naval deployment, can you give us more details about that ?

No, this is precisely what diplomats and military people are working on in Brussels right now.

One of the things that Somalia has been saying is that beyond piracy, there’s dumping of toxic waste, and there’s also illegal fishing. What is the international community doing to try this ?

I can answer very simply in my capacity of president of the European Union. For a long time, in the agreements that the EU has had with almost all countries in Africa, we have developed programs to help the States cope with illegal fishing. And we are victims of that, because we have some boats fishing legally off the coasts of Africa and especially in this region where there are some French territories. So, of course, we should help at the same time the country to fight against illegal fishing.

Laissez-moi peut-être dire simplement en français, que la France se réjouit particulièrement que le Conseil de Sécurité ait été en mesure d’adopter à l’unanimité, sur la proposition de la France, une résolution qui est co-parrainée par de très nombreux Etats, de l’ensemble des pays du monde, et qui autorise, y-compris par le recours à des moyens militaires, les Etats membres à agir contre les pirates. Non seulement elle l’autorise, mais elle leur demande de leur faire, conformément notamment à ce qu’avaient demandé les autorités somaliennes elles-mêmes.

C’est un pas en avant considérable et nous espérons pouvoir ainsi lutter contre ce fléau, contre cette menace globale. Il faut se souvenir que plus de 3,5 millions de Somaliens dépendront à la fin de l’année de l’aide internationale. Les pirates aujourd’hui tuent tous les jours un peu plus le peuple somalien. Il était temps que la communauté internationale réagisse. Cette proposition a été faite par le président Sarkozy, elle vient d’être adoptée à l’unanimité quinze jours ou trois semaines après cette proposition. Pour nous, c’est extrêmement satisfaisant, et il faut par ailleurs se rappeler que l’Union européenne a décidé de préparer une opération militaire navale, si c’était possible, avec plusieurs Etats membres, pour être déployée avant la fin de l’année au large des eaux territoriales somaliennes pour lutter contre les pirates.

Ambassadeur, quelle serait la forme de cette force, qu’est-ce qui est prévu ?

C’est actuellement à l’étude, c’est quelque chose qui est difficile, qui serait une innovation au titre de la politique européenne de sécurité et de défense, donc les militaires et les diplomates à Bruxelles sont en train de créer les conditions de déploiement de cette force avec un quartier général. Plusieurs Etats membres ont déjà fait part de leur disposition à participer à cet effort, mais je ne suis pas au fait des détails techniques et notamment militaires.

Mr. Ambassador, you said this is meant as a signal, that it’s okay to use force in this situation. Does France and the European Union have any intention to use force against the pirates ? La réponse est oui.

What is the EU’s position or the France’s position on the resolution of Serbia on Kosovo ?

The European Union is still working to try to get some common position, at least the European Union will be in a position to express probably some common position on the future of Kosovo, and we will use this occasion to restate the position vis-à-vis the future of the Balkans. We believe that this future should be one of peace and stability within the European Union, so we restate our commitment to work very closely and very expeditiously with all the actors there : Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, all the countries which are close to the European Union today and which will one day, we hope, be members of the European Union.

Do you still think that Serbia’s request for this resolution is somehow problematic or within their rights ?

It’s their right, this is obvious, it’s the right of any member to ask for the advice of the ICJ.

We also always said, from the point of view of the presidency, that the timing was not very good and that, at the moment when we are trying to build some more confidence between all the parties, it’s not the right signal that should be addressed. But we will see how it goes and we certainly appreciate the efforts of the Serbian authorities to try to keep up on the talks with the European Union and we will do that. What is important on the ground is the deployment of EULEX, which is going for the moment, so far so good./.

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