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Russia looking to join fight against piracy

Russia looking to join fight against piracy

Moscow: Russia would like to conduct a unified operation with the UN and cooperate with NATO in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia, RIA Novosti quotes Russia's envoy to NATO as saying.

Dmitry Rogozin reportedly said that the Russian warships guarding shipping routes in the Gulf of Aden are currently working with foreign crews on a bilateral basis. "Right now there are two operations: one run by the European Union and another that is beginning under the auspices of the UN, which will also allocate vessels. These will clearly overlap. We would be interested in a unified operation under the auspices of the UN."

In regard to NATO, Rogozin said Russia has received an invitation to attend conferences at which all elements of military and political cooperation in the fight against piracy will be discussed.
Somalia has been without an effective government since the Revolutionary Socialist Party was overthrown in 1991. The internationally recognized federal government controls only the capital city of Mogadishu and part of central Somalia.

The United Nations has said that pirates have collected $150 million in ransom payments from ship owners in 2008 while overall losses from piracy were estimated at $13-16 billion, including the soaring cost of insurance and protection for vessels, as well as sending ships on longer routes to avoid high-risk areas.

Around 35 warships from the navies of 16 countries are involved in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. According to the United Nations, Somali pirates carried out at least 120 attacks on ships in 2008.  [08/06/09]