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Sudan president: mobilization of naval fleets in Somali coastcomplicates situation
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Dec 30, 2008 - 10:36:20 PM

Sudan president: mobilization of naval fleets in Somali coastcomplicates situation 2008-12-31 00:20:15  

    KHARTOUM, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday said the mobilization of naval fleets in the Somali coast would complicate the situation in Somalia and the region as a whole.

    "The mobilization of fleets will not solve the problem.... It is feared that the presence of an international military will be a pretext of threat to the stability of the region," he said in a speech at the opening session of the Sanaa Gathering, which is made up of Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia and Somalia.

    He said the phenomenon of piracy on the Somali coast is the natural result of the deteriorating situation in Somalia, and "the elimination of the phenomenon of piracy depends on resolving the Somali problem and reaching a lasting peace and stability there."

    Bashir stressed the importance of a conciliatory solution to the problem of Somalia, and warned that the situation in Somalia, what he described as "chaos," will affect the stability of the whole region.

    He called on the international community to support the efforts of the African Union and the Arab League which aimed at finding a peaceful settlement to the conflicts in Somalia.

    Somalia, which has not had a functioning central government since 1991, has witnessed an upsurge in fighting this year, which has led to massive humanitarian suffering and widespread displacement.

    The waters off the Somali coasts are considered to be some of the world's most dangerous areas as pirates have hijacked and attacked dozens of ships this year.

    According to the London-based International Maritime Bureau, at least 109 ships have been attacked there this year. Fourteen ships are currently held for ransom, including a Saudi supertanker Sirius Star and a Ukrainian cargo ship Faina, which was carrying 32 armored tanks.

    The pirates' focus has been the Gulf of Aden, between Somalia and Yemen, where 20,000 merchant ships a year pass on the way in and out of the Suez Canal, the quickest route from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

    Since June, the UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions calling on all countries to take part in patrolling gulf and waters off Somalia. The latest UN authorization allowed countries to "undertake all necessary measures in Somalia, including in its airspace" to stop the pirates.

    The authorized but voluntary international intervention includes naval vessels from China, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Russia and the United States -- which are in concerted vigilance over the seaway from the gulf to the Suez Canal, which is the shortest route connecting Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

Editor: Yan

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