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UN political chief urges sustained efforts to combat piracy off Somali coast

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The UN political chief on Wednesday called for a long-term solution to piracy off the Somali coast, urging sustained efforts to address underlying conditions conducive to breeding piracy.

Briefing the Security Council on piracy off the Somali coast, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said that the multi-pronged approach may be "a daunting, but unavoidable task, for it will enable Somalia to effectively address, and ultimately defeat piracy."

"We should not only ask what more needs to be done to ensure that the scourge does not return, but also what kind of support could be provided to Somalia so that the country is able to respond to the threat of piracy without dependence on the countries support of international navies," he said.

The east African nation has one of the most dangerous coastlines in the world due to rampant piracy which threatens not only maritime workers but also the coastal economy.

Since the adoption of the first Security Council resolution on the matter in June 2008, some of the most urgent responses have revolved around the "twin axes of deterring pirate attacks and prosecuting and sanctioning of pirates," Feltman told the Council.

Coordinated efforts by member states, organizations and the maritime industry have caused a drop in the incidents of piracy reported off the coast of Somalia to their lowest levels in recent years.

However, Feltman warned, "This progress is fragile and reversible. We still see pirates attempting to attack vessels and capture them for ransom."

State-building and inclusive governance efforts in Somalia must be led and owned by Somalis themselves, he underscored, calling for international support to the Somali government in its efforts to deliver on its commitments outlined in Vision 2016 and the Somali Compact.

He also stressed that UN must be involved in helping strengthen the capacity of Somalia and other countries in the region to prosecute pirates and to sanction the convicted.

"It is imperative that more nations criminalize piracy on the basis of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," he said, emphasizing the need to deter financing of piracy and laundering of ransom money.

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