Taking Diplomatic Action Against Piracy

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 13, 2009

The United States has taken a leading role in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, highlighting our commitment to joining with our international partners to meet the shared security challenge posed by piracy’s negative impact on maritime safety, global commerce, humanitarian aid delivery to Eastern Africa, and regional trade and development.

Since December 2008, the United States has:

  • Led UN Security Council efforts to adopt two resolutions allowing states to partner with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to suppress armed robbery in its territorial waters.

  • Established the Contact Group per UN Security Council Resolution 1851. The Contact group currently includes 28 countries and six international organizations: the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union, the International Maritime Organization, NATO, and the UN Secretariat. The Contact Group continues to grow, with several nations asking to participate.

  • Joined international partners to enhance security with expanded naval patrols. The U.S. Navy created Combined Task Force 151 on counter-piracy, and we actively support the expansion of NATO and European Union counter-piracy missions. We also hope to build upon new counter-piracy collaboration with non-traditional maritime security partners such as China, India, and Russia.

  • Secured a formal arrangement with Kenya to accept pirates for prosecution, and continues to work with other countries to expand options for prosecution. In keeping with our strong conviction that states affected by piracy have a responsibility to prosecute, the U.S. Department of Justice is prosecuting the surviving perpetrator of the pirate attack on the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama in a U.S. federal court.

  • Continued to work with international partners and private industry to encourage greater commercial shipping self-protection capability, as well as with regional governments to help develop local self-sufficient coastal security forces.

  • Worked to integrate international maritime security efforts with diplomatic support for the UN-led Djibouti peace process to help the Somali people address their larger political, security and governance challenges. The long-term solution to piracy lies in political and economic stability in Somalia, and the creation of a government that can secure its territory and meet the needs of its citizens.

PRN: 2009/452