29 March 2012, Permanent Representative Statement During the 11th Plenary Meeting of the CGPCS
At the outset, I would like to thank His Excellency the Chair of the Plenary Meeting and the Chairs of the Five Working Groups of the Contact Group.
Despite the marked reduction in the number of hostages and ships currently being held by pirates as a result of the effective combating measures taken by the maritime coalition forces, including the improved guidelines given by the International Maritime Organization to its maritime personnel and the protection forces provided on the board the ships, we are still deeply concerned at the piracy attacks which have taken place recently against ships and tankers, including recently, on March 2, the attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman. This constitutes a significant threat not only to the safety of ships, sailors, passengers and containers, but also to the movement of international trade and navigation, the economic and social development opportunities in the countries of the region, and regional and international peace and security in general.
The UAE, which strongly supports all efforts to combat acts of piracy and hostage-taking, supports all proposals aimed at improving and strengthening these efforts, including military operations to track down, arrest and prosecute those responsible and involved in piracy activities, as a strong deterrent for preventing future piracy acts. In this context, the United Arab Emirates calls upon the international community to adopt a comprehensive cooperation strategy which, along with combating piracy on the seas, addresses the root causes and motives of this phenomenon on land. This strategy must also strengthen the means for legal follow-through on piracy cases, especially in areas of improving the administration of prisons and detention centers used for detaining pirates, and in developing the legal framework and the national capacities concerned with investigations and establishment of courts for piracy trials. In this context, the United Arab Emirates is doing its part by trying pirates within its own national courts.
International cooperation must be also strengthened, including the role of the United Nations and regional organizations, especially in the areas of monitoring, surveillance and preventing the financing of piracy acts and armed robberies, which are forms of organized crime.
The UAE, which has legislated the necessary laws to criminalize acts of piracy, kidnapping, smuggling in all its forms, money laundering, financing of terrorism and organized crime, had adopted a national position that strongly supports all regional and international efforts aimed at combating acts of piracy in all its forms. In the area of supporting capacity-building, the UAE has also increased its development assistance to Somalia and other states in the region, in order to enable these countries to invigorate their national economies and create employment opportunities for their people so as to prevent their involvement in the activities of piracy.
My Government has also undertaken a number of other initiatives in the area of combating piracy, especially regarding awareness-raising issues under the purview of Working Group 4. These initiatives include hosting an annual high-level international conference that includes public and private sectors on Maritime Piracy, which, as His Excellency the Chairman mentioned, will be held in Dubai this year on 27 and 28 June, with invitations forthcoming. We will additionally be supporting the translation of the Contact Group’s website into Arabic, so that those in the region most affected by piracy may be made better aware of the issues involved and of the Contact Group’s work.
Furthermore, the UAE has made a contribution of one million dollars to the Trust Fund for supporting the initiatives of the Contact Group. We hope that other states also increase their contributions to this important fund, the goals of which include the establishment of a specialized court in the region for prosecuting pirates, and extending support to states in the region; especially Somalia, Kenya and Seychelles, with a view to developing their laws and judicial and security bodies, including prisons, in order to enable them face this challenge.
Finally, we wish to emphasize that combating piracy cannot be effective and sustainable without consolidating security, peace, stability and the rule of law in the Somali territory. In this context, we stress the importance of combating piracy within the framework of the comprehensive strategy of the Djibouti Peace Agreement, and also within the efforts aimed at addressing the other legal issues relating to the maritime zones of Somalia in relation to the neighboring states in order to define responsibilities.
We hope our deliberations in this meeting will contribute to achieving 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 off the Coast of Somalia and on the high seas.