EUROPEAN UNION ANTI-PIRACY OPERATION COMMANDER TO VISIT TANZANIA (31/01/2011)

The Operation Commander of the EU NAVFOR-Atlanta Operation, Major General Buster Howes, is expected to visit Tanzania on February 3, 2011 as part of his mission to the Horn of Africa on piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.  Major General Howes is also visiting Djibouti and Kenya as part of this mission.

While in Tanzania Major General Howes is expected to meet and have discussions on piracy with the country's political and military leadership and with members of the diplomatic community.

The EU is committed to a regional approach to piracy, based on ownership of the countries concerned and EU supports their efforts to ensure the prosecution and detention of suspected pirates and within this context is also ready to support Tanzania.

BACKGROUND

European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia - Operation Atalanta was launched in December 2008 following a considerable escalation in acts of piracy over the past years off the coast of Somalia in order to protect humanitarian aid and reduce disruption to the shipping routes and the de-stabilsing of the maritime environment in the region.

This military operation contributes to the protection of World Food Programme vessels delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia, to the protection of vulnerable vessels sailing in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia and to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery.

The EU has concluded transfer agreements with Kenya and the Seychelles. Agreements with other countries in the region are under discussion.

As part of its efforts to support stability and security in Somalia, the EU launched in April 2010 a training mission (EUTM) in Uganda to train Somali troops (www.consilium.europa.eu/eutm-somalia). The EU should therefore continue to help stabilize Somalia by providing support to vital and priority areas such as the security sector, development, assistance to the population and capacity-building support, in addition to deployment of EUNAVFOR-Atalanta and humanitarian assistance.

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