19 November 2012 – Security Council – Piracy/Somalia – Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
I would like
to thank the Indian presidency for having organized
this debate and for the draft presidential statement. My
thanks also go to the Deputy Secretary-General for his
It is important to remember that the scourge of
piracy affects the entire international community.
It threatens the stability of entire regions, disrupts
trade networks and feeds other trafficking activities.
Piracy must therefore be dealt with as a whole. As the
Secretary-General has urged, we must also work to
aid victims, in particular the seafarers who have been
kidnapped and held hostage, in some cases for several
Since 2008, France has taken action to mobilize the
international community and the Security Council to
combat the threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
The European Union has played a pivotal role in that
respect, in particular via Operation Atalanta. Those
efforts have borne fruit. Since the beginning of the
year, the number of attacks has declined significantly,
while the success rate has declined even further.
Even if the scale has tipped slightly in our favour,
the situation will remain precarious, as long as no
noticeable change occurs in the security, political
and economic situations. Pirates continue to adapt
themselves, improve their operations, seek new targets
for their operations and often go unpunished owing to a
perennial lack of jurisdiction.
The positive gains must therefore be strengthened.
Developments in Somalia, including the conclusion of
the transitional period, the election of President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamud and the appointment of the new
Government provide such an opportunity.
I believe that there are three essential avenues to
follow in order to definitively resolve the scourge of
piracy off the coast of Somali.
First, a presence at sea
has a deterrent role that remains crucial and must be
The protection of vulnerable vessels by
private security forces cannot be considered to replace
naval operations, as the presence of such forces alone
is incapable of facing the threat. In that context, States
and organizations must continue to mobilize so as to
implement the authorizations of actions at sea provided
for in the resolutions of the Council.
Secondly, combating the impunity of pirates
impunity must be a priority.
Eighty per cent of pirate
suspects who have been captured continue to go free,
which affects the effectiveness and credibility of the
operations at sea. Despite the fact that 20 States, of
which France is one, have started legal proceedings,
the burden of action at this stage falls on the countries
in the region. In that respect, particular tribute must
be paid to Seychelles for its strenuous efforts in that
A judicial response will have little deterrent effect
as long as Somalia and its regional bodies are not in
a position to prosecute their nationals. Developments
under way in Somalia will open new ways forward
aimed at enabling durable control of the crisis.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said that
establishing a new judicial system will be one of the
pillars of his policy in Somalia. The adoption of a
legal framework to criminalize piracy, as requested by
successive resolutions of the Council and the outcome
communiqué of the September mini-summit on Somalia
(see SG/2187), will represent an essential step.
We must also strengthen our efforts against the
backers who are at the heart of the piracy activities, as my
Russian colleague mentioned.
To that end, international
cooperation will play a key role. The International
Criminal Police Organization also plays a pivotal role,
which must be encouraged.
The adoption of individual
sanctions pursuant to resolution 1844 (2008), targeted
against those backing the pirates, would also contritube
to those efforts and enable the gathering of intelligence
to be used by States in undertaking legal proceedings.
It would also send a strong signal about the Council’s
determination to continue its actions against piracy.
Thirdly, bolstering the maritime and judicial
capacities of the States of the region is of fundamental
importance in consolidating the gains achieved.
context, the launching of the European Union mission
EUCAP NESTOR in July, for an initial two-year period,
marked a turning point. It is aimed at providing States
with capacities to ensure the security of their shipping
lanes, through advisory and training assistance aimed at
coast guard and maritime administration staff, as well
as the establishment of a coastal police for Somalia.
France is playing an active role in that regard.
In relation to the Gulf of Guinea, the adoption
of resolutions 2018 (2011) and 2039 (2012) signalled
the mobilization of both the Security Council and the international community in that effort.
playing its full role in that connection, particularly
through its implementation, in mid-2011, of a regional
support programme aimed at training in the area of
We encourage the States of the region and the
relevant regional organizations, in particular the
Economic Community of West African States and the
Economic Community of Central African States, to
strengthen their involvement. In that respect, France
supports the initiative to organize a regional conference
in 2013 on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea with a view to
following up on resolutions 2018 (2011) and 2039 (2012).
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