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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08BRUSSELS1565
2008-10-09 05:46:00
CONFIDENTIAL
USEU Brussels
Cable title:  

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PLANNING SOMALIA MARITIME

Tags:   PTER  MOPS  EWWT  XA  XF  XC  AID 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BRUSSELS 001565 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EEB DORIS HAYWOOD, PM JEFFREY FREDERICK, INR JOHN
MCGUINESS, S/CT GAIL ROBERTSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/03/2018
TAGS: PTER MOPS EWWT XA XF XC AID
SUBJECT: EUROPEAN COMMISSION PLANNING SOMALIA MARITIME
SECURITY INITIATIVE

BRUSSELS 00001565 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Christopher Murray for reasons 1
.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: The European Commission's Critical
Maritime Routes initiative is intended to help improve
security along key shipping corridors by providing aid to
countries to enhance vessel tracking and information sharing.
Initially conceived only for the Malacca Straits, the
Commission is considering also applying the initiative in
countries in and near the Horn of Africa as part of the
international effort to combat piracy. A fact-finding team
of experts will visit Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Djibouti in
November. The Commission hopes to gain Member State approval
of its program in December and launch it next year. Although
this project will neither provide a short-term solution to
the piracy problem nor attack its root, it shows that as the
EU Member States prepare to launch a naval operation to
combat piracy, the Commission is pursuing a parallel track
aimed at providing long-term support. Post does not have
expertise in U.S. maritime security programming, but we
believe Commission officials involved in the Critical
Maritime Routes initiative would welcome a visit from U.S.
experts to coordinate efforts in this vital area. End
Summary.



2. (SBU) The European Commission is working to launch a
Critical Maritime Routes initiative intended to help improve
security along key shipping corridors by providing aid to
third countries to enhance vessel tracking and information
sharing between ports, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the
Security Policy Unit in DG RELEX, told PolOff on October 3.
Although the specifics of the program remain vague, Wigemark
said support could include transponders that would help
authorities track small and medium sized vessels, as well as
more general capacity building measures. Initially intended
for the Malacca Strait, the Commission is now considering
applying the initiative off the coast of Somalia as part of
the international effort to combat piracy. The proposal

BRUSSELS 00001565 002.2 OF 003


would provide funding using the ommission's Stability
Instrument, which the Commission is currently finalizing for
2009 to 2011.



3. (SBU) The Commission sent a team of experts to Indonesia
earlier this year on a fact-finding mission and plans to send
them to Djibouti, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia in November. They
will not visit Somalia due to the security situation. The
team includes two former German admirals, a former French
admiral, and a Swedish Coast Guar information technology
specialist. In addition, the Commission has begun
coordinating its initiative within the EU, including with the
EU Military Staff, Wigemark said.



4. (C) Wigemark conceded that the proposal was nt yet
ready to be implemented and would not contribute to a
short-term fix to piracy off the Somali coast, nor attack the
root of the piracy problem ) a general absence of the rule
of law in the region. The information gathered by the team of
experts in November will feed into the Indicative Program the
Commission intends to present to the EU Member States in
December. Assuming it gains Member State approval, Wigemark
said the Commission hopes to begin funding the program in


2009. Post does not know when the Commission expects to
start delivering assistance or when the program would
actually have an effect along the high traffic shipping
routes leading south from the Suez Canal.



5. (C) Comment: This initiative shows that the European
Commission and EU Council are working on parallel tracks to
provide short- and longer-term support to a region in crisis.
Post does not know how deeply the Council and Commission are
coordinating their counter-piracy work, but Wigemark,s
remarks suggest the two institutions are at least sharing
information. European Commission Director for Crisis
Platform and Policy Coordination in Common Foreign and
Security Policy, Richard Wright, referred to the initiative
at the October 8 meeting of EU Political and Security Plus 7

BRUSSELS 00001565 003 OF 003


Ambassadors. He mentioned it in the context of a discussion
on EU anti-piracy activities in the Horn of Afirca region.
Post does not have expertise in U.S. maritime security
programming, but we believe Commission officials involved in
the Critical Maritime Routes initiative would welcome a visit
from U.S. experts to coordinate our efforts. Because this is
a Commission rather than a Council initiative, U.S. and NATO
coordination on this issue would not be subject to
limitations on NATO-EU cooperation driven by the
Turkey-Cyprus dispute. End Comment.
.