Italy to host conference on Somalia’s instability..

Halkaan ka akhri

By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Italy will host a conference in June to focus attention on ways to stabilize the Somali government and curb incidents of piracy that have plagued commercial shipping.

The increase in incidents where pirates are seizing ships and holding them and their crews for ransom reflects Somalia’s poverty and governmental instability, East African experts have said.

Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, said the upcoming summit, called “International Group of Contacts on Somalia,” is aimed at stabilizing the U.N.-backed government and battling Islamic insurgents.

The summit will be held in Rome on June 9 and 10.

“The meeting will allow us to examine the most recent political developments on the situation in Somalia, of the security, the fight against piracy, and humanitarian and economic aid,” Frattini said in a statement posted on the ministry’s Web site.

In April, the United Nations and European Union co-sponsored an international conference in Brussels that raised $213 million to help finance African Union forces in Somalia and the development and training of a Somali security force.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported a NATO warship from Canada intercepted two boats carrying suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, seizing a large amount of firearms, rocket-propelled grenades and hook ladders.

The Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg chased the boats and eventually boarded them, releasing the suspected pirates after confiscating the equipment, the alliance told the Associated Press on Monday. NATO does not have an agreement with Kenya to hand suspected pirates over for trial.

Sourse: Stars and Stripes

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