WASHINGTON, July 25, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
July 24, 2012
The United States will join partners from nearly 70 countries, international organizations, and the private sector at the United Nations in New York on July 25 for a plenary meeting of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, a growing diplomatic effort taking action against criminal activity that threatens commerce and humanitarian aid deliveries along one of the world's busiest shipping corridors.
The plenary, hosted by Spain, will be the twelfth gathering of this outstanding international partnership. Since its initial meeting in January 2009, the Contact Group has nearly tripled in size − a testament to the global consensus that piracy poses a shared security challenge to maritime safety and to the need for further concerted and coordinated international action. Among its accomplishments to date, the Contact Group has:
• Facilitated coordination of international naval patrols through the operational coordination of an unprecedented international naval effort from more than 30 countries working together to protect transiting vessels. The United States coordinates in these efforts with other multilateral coalitions such as NATO's Operation Ocean Shield and the European Union's Operation ATALANTA. The United States also looks to further develop counter-piracy cooperation with several other nations deploying forces to the international counter-piracy effort, including China, India, Japan, and Russia.
• Partnered with the shipping industry to improve practical steps merchant ships and crews can take to avoid, deter, delay, and counter pirate attacks. The shipping industry's use of Best Management Practices and the increasing use of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel are among these measures, which have proven to be the most effective deterrents against pirate attacks.
• Strengthened the capacity of Somalia and other countries in the region to combat piracy, in particular by contributing to the UN Trust Fund Supporting Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia; and
• Advanced a new initiative aimed at disrupting the pirates' financial and logistical networks ashore through approaches similar to those used to target other types of organized transnational criminal networks.
To learn more about U.S. support for international efforts against piracy, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/ppa/piracy/index.htm and www.thecgpcs.org.