Opening Remarks of H.E. Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey, Chair of the 8th Plenary of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia

Ertuğrul Apakan 21.03.2011
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite all our joint efforts, piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden continues to be a serious threat.

In 2010, we witnessed a record number of hostages and hijackings. So far in 2011, we have already seen 14 hijackings and 250 sailors taken hostage.

The escalation of the number of attacks and the geographic expansion of them are sources of great concern. We also have seen an increasing use of violence against hostages. This aggravation reached its climax with the shocking death of four American hostages and of a Filipino Seafarer,

This new situation has inevitably its consequences on our Contact Group’s work as well as today’s session. It is important to have an effective and focused approach in addressing the main aspects of the fight against piracy such as the prosecution of pirates, strengthening the military response, enhancing regional capabilities, better implementation of Best Management Practices and Somalization of the process.

At the end of the day, it is also important to demonstrate our determination aiming at a more effective coordination and close cooperation in the international efforts.

For that reason, we should absolutely come up today with clear messages towards international community.

In this state of mind, we have adopted a new approach as to the drafting of the final communiqué by including in it for the first time a number of themes and messages.

I would like to express my gratitude for the valuable work done by the Working Groups.

To conclude, I would like to emphasize that despite the deepening and widening international cooperation to address the issue, a lasting solution to the problem can only be found if it is sought in the broader context of political, security and economic situation in Somalia.

In this respect, international community should not focus solely on the security aspect of this issue. We need to underline the necessity of a comprehensive approach to effectively combating piracy. This is only possible by addressing its root causes, especially the instability and the poverty in mainland Somalia.

Thank you.