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UN Move Taken Against Somali Pirates

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on June 2 allowing for the pursuit of pirates by foreign navies into Somali territorial waters. Since the collapse of Somalia's central government, the anarchy on land has been accompanied by anarchy in its waters. With the lack of an effective maritime force to patrol this area of the Indian Ocean, piracy has been rife, with twenty six ships attacked by pirates in the last year. The resolution provides a six month timetable for foreign navies and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government to work together in combating piracy. According to AFP:

The draft would give a six-month mandate to states cooperating with Somalia's transitional government (TFG) in fighting piracy to "enter the territorial waters of Somalia for the purposes of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea."

The states must do so "in a manner consistent with such action permitted on the high seas with respect to piracy under relevant international law," it added, while the TFG must provide advance notification of such action to the UN secretary general.

The draft also urges states whose naval vessels and military aircraft operate on the high seas and in airspace off the coast of Somalia "to increase and coordinate their efforts to deter acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea in cooperation with the TFG."

The United States Navy has been particularly active in patrolling the ocean off Somalia, even coming to the aid of a North Korean cargo ship that had been boarded by pirates in October 2007. In adopting the resolution, which was drafted by the United States, France, and Panama, the UN is providing useful cover under international law for those foreign forces that are helping secure the vital shipping lanes that abut Somalia in light of the TFG's inability to do so. As the vast majority of international trade continues to be transported by sea. Keeping these routes open and secure is a necessity for the health of the world's economy.