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Monday, April 26, 2010

EU's Ashton to renegotiate with Kenya terms for detaining pirates

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Monday, April 26, 2010

Brussels - European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is to travel to Kenya to renegotiate the terms under which the country tries and detains pirates caught off the coast of Somalia, Spain's Defence Minister Carme Chacon said Monday.

'Kenya has told us that its judicial system has collapsed as a result of receiving so many pirates in such a short time' said Chacon, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency.

The bloc's foreign and defence ministers decided at a meeting in Luxembourg that Ashton should travel to Kenya to settle the issue.

'We instructed (Ashton) to renegotiate (the deal) and to ask again the Kenyan authorities what its judicial system needs to continue working with the Atalanta mission,' she said.

The EU launched the Atalanta naval mission in December 2008 to try and stem the rising number of piracy attacks against vessels in the Gulf of Aden, which risked endangering a crucial route for world trade.
Pirates caught by EU ships have been handed over to the Seychelles and Kenya so that they could be tried to local courts, but Kenya recently reneged on the agreement saying its prisons were full.

Chacon said the EU's foreign policy supremo would also travel to other African countries, including Mozambique, Uganda and South Africa, to work on 'the long term goal of setting up a regional tribunal' charged with trying pirates.

In the shorter term, the Spanish minister said an agreement was forthcoming with Tanzania, making it the third country where the EU could transfer pirates caught by its naval mission.

As well as deploying ships to combat pirates in high waters, the EU has recently enlarged its Atalanta mission by launching the so-called Operation Focus, which targets pirates' vessels nearer to Somalia's ports.
The EU is also training Somali soldiers in Uganda so that they could strengthen the rule of law once they return to their civil war-stricken country.

'Our objective is the complete eradication of piracy,' Chacon said, claiming that during Atalanta's first year of operation the number of successful attacks by pirates has already fallen by 50 per cent.Source: Deutsche.

Source: Presse-Agentur


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