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17 November 2011, GA, Permanent Representative's Statement The Meeting of The Contact Group on Combating Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me the floor. I would also like to thank the chairpersons of the four open-ended working groups for their valuable briefings given at the beginning of this meeting.

Mr. Chairman, t hough the United Arab Emirates is satisfied at the positive results achieved by the international community since the ninth meeting of the Contact Group in the area of reducing the incidence of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships and tankers off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, the phenomenon of piracy and its negative consequences continue to constitute a major threat not only to Somalia and other countries in the region, but also to international maritime traffic and trade as a whole. Pirates continue to develop their methods and tactics of armed robbery relying on modern techniques that helped them to expand their operations on the high seas, which is harmful to international security, peace and stability.

The United Arab Emirates, which looks forward to chair the eleventh meeting of the Contact Group on Combating piracy in 2012, renews its strong support for all military operations and critical measures aimed at improving the process of pursuing and prosecuting those responsible and involved in piracy acts, and considers these measures as a strong deterrent for preventing this phenomenon from continuing. At the same time, the United Arab Emirates emphasizes that such measures are not sufficient to eliminate totally and permanently these serious acts at sea, and the international community is required to adopt a comprehensive cooperation strategy that ensures the total elimination of this phenomenon, which constitutes a form of organized crime that threatens countries and is subject to international laws.

Mr. Chairman, the UAE, which has legislated laws to criminalize acts of piracy, kidnapping, smuggling in all its forms, money laundering and financing of terrorism and organized crime, is keen to strengthen its active participation in regional and international efforts aiming at combating acts of piracy and armed robbery of ships and tankers as part of its comprehensive national strategy, which consists of three main pillars: 1) participation in military response, 2) abidance to international obligation of prosecution and detention of pirates, bringing them to justice and preventing their sources of funding in accordance with international law, and 3) strengthening its development partnership and long-term humanitarian and financial assistance to some countries in the region, particularly Somalia, in order to enable these countries to revive their national economy.

My Government has also undertaken a number of initiatives in the area of combating piracy, including the organization of a high-level international conference held in Dubai last April (Global Threat, Regional Responses: Forging a Common Approach to Maritime Piracy), and its contribution of one million dollar to the Trust Fund for supporting the initiatives of the Contact Group. We hope that states increase their contributions to this important fund, which constitutes a central international financing mechanism and is supported by public and private sectors to implement activities of combating piracy. The UAE would like to be a member of the managing board of this fund, which will enable it to fulfill its commitments towards combating piracy. The UAE is also preparing for hosting a second international conference for combating piracy next year, which will combine high-level representatives from the public and private sectors and will focus on building regional capacity in the fields of combating piracy, strengthening security structures in the region, and coordination of regional efforts among the various parties concerned.

In this regard, we also wish to emphasize that countering piracy cannot be effective without creating the fundamental changes in areas of stability and security in the Somali territory. Therefore, we urge the international community to provide the necessary funding for all initiatives and projects aiming at capacity-building of Somalia, including the assistance in the early establishment of its exclusive economic zone, enactment of the necessary national legislations for combating piracy, and providing the necessary assistance to ensure achievement of reconciliation, rule of law, building of transitional federal institutions, and enhancement of national sustainable development, in order to bring peace and stability across the country.

Mr. Chairman, as we express our concern about the continuing payment of ransoms for releasing captured vessels and crews by the pirates, and its impact on growing the acts of piracy, we urge all countries and stakeholders to find a practical and executive legal mechanism that prevents payment of ransom for the release of vessels, whereas the total and sustainable elimination of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea requires in the first place from all countries without exception to continue developing their national legislations for combating piracy on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions 1918, 1950 and 1967 and in accordance with the principles of international law.

Mr. Chairman, finally, we hope this meeting will contribute to promoting the objectives for which this contact group was established, namely in the area of strengthening a comprehensive international strategy for combating piracy and armed robbery on the high seas.

Thank you Mr. Chairman