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UN gives green light to fight pirates on land -

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UN gives green light to fight pirates on land

The World Today - Wednesday, 17 December , 2008 12:36:00

Reporter: Sara Everingham

ELEANOR HALL: The United Nations Security Council has unanimously backed a US resolution that
authorises countries to take their fight against Somali pirates onto Somali soil.

Pirates have seized another two ships off the Yemeni coast in the last 24 hours adding to the
dozens seized this year.

And the signs are that the lawlessness is set to continue.

Sara Everingham has our report.

SARA EVERINGHAM: International military forces are already allowed to take action against pirates
in Somali waters.

Now, for the first time they can take the fight onto Somali soil.

A resolution adopted by the UN Security Council allows states, for one year, to take all necessary
measures that are appropriate in Somalia to suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The US has been pushing for the changes, but Pentagon officials concede an attack on Somali soil
has its risks, including the possibility of civilian casualties.

David Shinn is the former US Department Coordinator for Somalia and a former ambassador to
Ethiopia.

DAVID SHINN: I wouldn't attach too much importance to it, in that I think it will rarely, actually
be used. Even the US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, plus several senior uniform military
officers have commented publicly in recent days that there isn't sufficient intelligence on the
ground, along the coast of Somalia, in order to carry out any kind of hot pursuit action on the
ground itself.

SARA EVERINGHAM: This is the fourth resolution on piracy the security council has passed this year.
It's estimated 100 ships have been seized by pirates off the Somali coast in the past 12 months.

Foreign navies have been unable to stop the attacks. David Shinn isn't sure the latest resolution
will help. He says the piracy problem won't be easily solved.

DAVID SHINN: In the first instance you have to solve the problem on the ground, and only then when
you have a government that controls Somalia, can you stop the problem on the high seas.

SARA EVERINGHAM: If political stability holds the key to stopping piracy, you can expect more
reports of hijacked boats.

Somalia's President has just added to the already rocky political climate in the country. He's
sacked Somalia's Prime Minister Nur Hassan, in spite of the opposition of the country's Parliament.
Nur Hassan is furious.

NUR HASSAN (voiceover): He doesn't have the power to dismiss the Prime Minister, the power to
dismiss the Prime Minister belongs to Parliament.

SARA EVERINGHAM: Kenyan Foreign Minister, Moses Wetangula, has condemned the move, imposing
sanctions against Somalia's President.

MOSES WETANGULA: As far as we are concerned there are not two governments. There is a government
and a cabinet headed by Prime Minister, Nur Hassan, and the President is Abdullahi Yusuf, and it is
important to inform them that the time of the transitional federal institutions has now seven
months to go, and they could be engaged in side shows when the storm is coming.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The storm he's talking about is the Islamic insurgency. It, along with other armed
groups, have been making daily advances. The transitional government only controls parts of the
capital, Mogadishu, and the town of Baidoa.

Nur Hassan says he's been ousted because he's been open to dialogue with the Islamist insurgents.

NUR HASSAN (voiceover): The aim is very clear, he's against the reconciliation process, he's not
thinking that the reconciliation process is the key to peace in Somalia. Instead of thinking about
peace in Somalia, he's thinking of his own position.

SARA EVERINGHAM: The transitional government in Somalia is backed by the Ethiopian military, but
it's due to leave the country at the end of the year.

David Shinn the former US ambassador to Ethiopia, says the transitional government is losing
ground.

DAVID SHINN: It was weak anyway, it's even weaker now. That's going to be bad for the international
community in terms of having any group with which it can work in the coming weeks.

And I think you're also seeing an increase in the authority on the ground of the more extremist
Islamist contingent, the al-Shabab group. And they will pose a real threat to taking Mogadishu when
the Ethiopians leave. As they say they will by the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

ELEANOR HALL: David Shinn who's the former US state department co-ordinator for Somalia, he was
ending Sara Everingham's report.