NATO Secretary General thanks Djibouti for counter-piracy efforts

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the President of Djibouti discussed counter-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa and the situation in Somalia during the president’s visit to NATO headquarters on Monday (16 September 2013). The Secretary General thanked President Ismail Omar Guelleh for his country’s leadership role in fighting piracy. “Djibouti’s strong commitment to counter-piracy and your support for our efforts are greatly appreciated,” Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said.

Somalia has been the base for most pirate activity off Africa’s east coast. “We agree on the importance of continued efforts to help stabilise the country, both from a political and security perspective. Because ultimately, the roots of piracy are not at sea, but on land,” said the Secretary General. Despite the fact that the last successful pirate attack happened more than a year ago, ships from NATO’s counter-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield, maintain a high level of vigilance off the Horn of Africa. “This shows how effective international cooperation can be in the face of such a serious challenge. However, we agree that we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.

The Alliance’s relationship with Djibouti “has real potential,” the Secretary General said, adding that NATO was open to explore further cooperation. A NATO-Djibouti agreement is currently being finalised which would see the establishment of a liaison office in support of Ocean Shield. The Secretary General said that NATO would continue to look at capacity building opportunities during port visits of Allied vessels to Djibouti. “Building capacity in the region is something that both of us see as the key to long-term maritime security off the Horn of Africa,” he said.


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