The explosion of piracy in the seas off Somalia will be top of the agenda at an international conference in Brussels today. Dozens of countries and major global organisations will be asked for some 200 million euros to save the all-but failed state which has had no functioning government or law and order for nearly 20 years.
“We have to start by first being determined to help Somalia, to remind them that this is not any more business as usual,” said the UN’s envoy to Somalia Ahmedou Ould Abdallah. “We must also remind the international community that we have a responsibility vis a vis the people of Somalia.” Restoring stability to Somalia is seen as the only way of ending the pirates’ rule at sea. “It is not so much dragging all those who are already embedded in piracy away. Rather, it is preventing new recruits and giving people who would be new recruits alternatives and that is really where donors can make a big difference, I think,” said Roger Middleton from London’s Chatham House. Somali gangs have demanded huge ransoms after seizing ships in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, which forced EU, NATO and US vessels to patrol the vital sea lanes. NATO’s four-ship fleet is due to end its mission today. Discussions are underway to extend it.