Norway, Croatia to join EU’s anti-piracy mission
Norway is to send two frigates to join the European Union’s anti-piracy mission in Somalia, and Croatia is also set to send ships, the EU’s top diplomat said Monday.
The two countries’ decision is an ‘important addition’ to EU Operation Atalanta, EU High Representative Javier Solana said after talks with EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
At the meeting, ministers debated the ongoing conflict in Somalia between government forces and rebels, condemning recent attacks on the government and on UN offices.
The attacks are a ‘very clear message targeting all peace and humanitarian work in the country,’ EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.
With the country still in the grip of strife, EU foreign ministers agreed that the bloc should step up its support to Somalia’s fledgling government, especially by increasing training to its law-enforcement and security services.
The EU launched Operation Atalanta in December to crack down on spiralling piracy around the Horn of Africa. The mission counts a dozen warships together with spotter plans and support vessels.
It was initially mandated to operate until December. A month ago, foreign ministers extended the mission until the end of 2010.
As well as the EU, NATO, Russia, Japan and China all operate ships in the area. Experts have warned that pirate activity could well surge in the autumn as the stormy monsoon season ends.