Bangladesh FM calls for international help to stop sea piracy

The foreign minister has called upon the international community to “cooperate” for stopping piracy at sea that undermines the livelihood of the maritime region.

Published : 29 Oct 2014, 04:37 PM
Updated : 29 Oct 2014, 05:53 PM

Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali was speaking at a high level international conference on public-private counter piracy initiative in Dubai on Wednesday.

He said Bangladesh as a maritime nation joined with other nations in expressing concern at the threat of piracy and armed robbery anywhere at sea.

“We understand that maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea continue to pose a serious threat to the freedom of navigation, safety of global commercial maritime routes, safety of seafarers, and other persons and undermines the economic livelihood of the maritime region”.

He said Bangladesh welcomed the international mechanism and initiatives that support the global response to maritime piracy.

The conference has been organised marking the United Arab Emirates’ Counter Piracy Week .

Foreign ministers of the host UAE, Bahamas, Brunei, Yemen, Mauritania, Seychelles, Somalia, Comoros and senior officials from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and many other countries attended the event along with EU, NATO and GCC.

Referring to the “significant reduction” of piracy in the Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa regions following Counter Piracy Conference in UAE in 2011, the foreign minister said those had been the direct result of “strategic, focused and multi-disciplinary approaches”.

Those approaches, he said, include security operations, investments in economic and social development, humanitarian assistance and capacity-building for local security forces and legal systems.

“This is testament to the effectiveness of the international community, both the public and private sectors, working together to improve the safety of trade lanes and to give economic options to young Somalis”.

He said international efforts “to undermine the piracy business model, from naval operations at sea to prosecuting the land based financiers of piracy, should be strengthened and continued”.

“In this context, there is a continuing need for the international community to cooperate on law enforcement, including with Interpol, to investigate and prosecute international criminal networks involved in piracy”.

Bangladesh has been able to rescue seven seafarers after more than three and a half years of captivity in Somalia along with other victims of piracy.

In this context, the foreign minister urged international community, industry and humanitarian organisations “to take new initiatives to alleviate the sufferings of such seafarers and their families”.

He appreciated the increasing progress in public-private cooperation in countering piracy, particularly toward counter-piracy initiatives in Somalia.

However, he said that Bangladesh believes that without a long-term regional and global solutions, there can be no long-term solution to piracy off the coast of Somalia.

He said the solutions should be able to address the root causes of piracy in Somalia, which would successfully stabilise Somalia, promote good governance and the rule of law, and foster socio-economic development into a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach.

“We look for a Somalia that is able to ensure peace, security and prosperity for all its citizens, that is able to ensure rule of law on land and at sea, through the effective governance of territorial waters and maintenance of maritime safety and security and a country fully reconnected to the region’s maritime trade”.

He also called upon the Somali federal and regional authorities to cooperate and set up an “internal joint coordination” mechanism for security and judiciary sector development to enhance the effectiveness of the support given by the international community.

The foreign minister hoped that the Dubai conference would be able to recommend “better options for combating maritime piracy and generate sustainable solutions on land through investment and development”.