The United States wants to get U.N. authority for countries pursuing pirates off the coast of Somalia to hunt them down on land, U.N. diplomats said Wednesday.
They said the U.S. delegation had drafted a text it hoped would form the basis of a resolution for the Security Council to approve next week, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be at the U.N. for talks on African and Middle East issues.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who will both be in New York on Monday, may also attend the Somalia talks, which are scheduled for Tuesday, diplomats said.
U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff declined to provide details of the U.S. text but confirmed that Washington hoped to see a resolution adopted.
“There is complete council solidarity and consensus on the importance of dealing with the piracy problem and thwarting it, and dealing with it with every tool at our disposal,” he said.
French marine commandos practice arresting men acting as pirates during a live demonstration of their capabilities to counter pirates on the high seas. An international conference on Somali piracy taking place in Nairobi is expected to propose the region’s coastal nations, like Kenya and Tanzania, arrest and prosecute the pirates.(AFP/File/Gerard Julien)
“Clearly this implies both at sea and, if needed, with the consent of the Somalis, on land,” Wolff told reporters.
By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters
It was not clear what form that Somali consent would take. The country has been in virtual anarchy since the collapse of a dictatorship 17 years ago.
Islamists now control most of the south. Feuding, heavily armed clan militias hold sway in many other areas and a weak, Western-backed interim government has little authority outside the capital of Mogadishu.
Diplomats familiar with the text said it was not clear what kind of force would be permitted for countries in “hot pursuit” of pirates who decide to bring the chase onto dry land. It was also unclear if the U.S. military would participate.