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1. (SBU) SUMMARY. The UN/Kenya International Conference on
Piracy around Somalia was held in Nairobi, Kenya on December
10-11, 2008. The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant
Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Mark
Kimmitt, and included representatives from AF, L, Embassy
Nairobi's Somalia Unit, and DOD/OSD. The two prevalent
themes in statements during the ministerial were the need to
address the land roots of piracy by stabilizing Somalia and
the need for greater international coordination in fighting
piracy. The U.S. delegation used the conference to build
support for the December 16th Ministerial meeting at the
Security Council, and the formation of an international
Contact Group on Somali Piracy. At the end of the conference,
Kenyan government representatives offered to enter into an
agreement with the United States concerning the transfer and
prosecution of pirates. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) KENYANS OFFER TO TAKE AND PROSECUTE PERSONS UNDER
CONTROL (PUCs). During the conference, the UK announced it
had concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kenya
that would facilitate the transfer and prosecution of piracy
suspects detained by the UK Royal Navy off the coast of
Somalia. In a pull-aside conversation at the end of the
conference, Kenyan Foreign Minister Wetangula told A/S
Kimmitt that Kenya was prepared to agree to a similar MOU
with the U.S. immediately. Noting U.S. interest in the
proposal, Kenyan Acting Ambassador for International
Organizations Anthony Andanje confirmed this offer.
3. (SBU) CONFERENCE DAY ONE - TECHNICAL EXPERTS RECOMMEND
USE OF SHIPRIDER ARRANGEMENTS. On day one, technical experts
broke into working groups to discuss proposals in four
categories: (1) Legal Implications/Framework, (2) Enforcement
Actions, (3) Capacity Building and (4) Commercial/Financial
-- Legal Implications/Framework. There was extended
discussion on technical legal issues, primarily relating to
the applicability of various treaties and instruments to acts
of piracy. Many of the experts (including those from Egypt,
Yemen and China) expressed the view that the UN Convention on
the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) was the sole legal instrument
applicable to acts of piracy. In their view, other
instruments, such as the 1988 Convention for the Suppression
of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation
(SUA), had no application. Other experts, as well as the
panel chair, expressed the contrary view that while UNCLOS
was the primary legal regime, SUA and other international
instruments could be applied in certain circumstances.
-- Enforcement Actions. Proposals focused on supporting
the establishment of an effective Somali police force and
coast guard, encouraging the International Maritime
Organization (IMO)-sponsored Djibouti regional meeting on
piracy, supporting efforts to establish regional information
centers in Kenya and Yemen, and supporting the development of
ship-riders agreements with regional states.
-- Capacity Building. The proposals reflected the
instruction of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to
focus on measures for building capacities within Somalia to
address the conditions that create an enabling environment
for piracy. Proposals included training coastal security
forces, building port infrastructure, and establishing a task
force of regional stakeholders to address Somali maritime
resource management issues at the local community level.
-- Commercial. Proposals addressed securing Somali
territorial waters for fishing, facilitating investment in
Somali coastal areas, and studying the possibility of a
common policy concerning ransom payments. The U.S.
intervened with regard to the first and third proposals,
arguing that securing fishing waters was not an appropriate
recommendation for a piracy workshop and that the ransom
policy language (as originally drafted) was too dismissive of
4. (SBU) KENYAN PROSECUTORIAL INFRASTRUCTURE. Kenyan legal
infrastructure appears be to be sufficient for prosecution of
piracy suspects. Lack of training appears not to be the
primary issue. Rather, the Department of Public Prosecution
(DPP) needs additional resources to address logistical issues
relating to large investigations and trial (such as
transporting witnesses and evidence).
5. (SBU) CONFERENCE DAY TWO - MINISTERS FOCUS ON COOPERATION
AND NEED TO ADDRESS LAND ROOTS OF PIRACY BY STABILIZING
SOMALIA. The two dominant themes of the ministerial were
enhancing international coordination and addressing the land
roots of piracy by stabilizing Somalia.
-- Special Representative of the Secretary General of the
United Nations to Somalia (SRSG) Ambassador Ahmedou
Ould-Abdallah cautioned the ministers against focusing too
much on overall problems in Somalia rather than the immediate
problem of piracy.
-- France, the UK, Germany, and Russia expressed strong
support for the U.S.-proposed Contact Group on Somali Piracy,
while China, India, Turkey, and Egypt explicitly called for
the UN to coordinate international counter piracy efforts.
-- The Kenyan delegation made strong statements urging the
international community to do more to combat piracy and
indicated the GOK was strongly committed to sharing the
burden. The Kenyan Foreign Minister expressly pledged "to
prosecute those that come our way." Kenya noted the
complications of prosecuting piracy cases (e.g. witnesses
from many nations, many states' interests involved) and the
need for cooperation and assistance in this regard. Kenya
suggested joint/coordinated naval patrols of Somali coastal
waters to halt pirate ships coming from Somalia, and offered
the use of Kenyan ports for this effort. The Kenyan Foreign
Minister also announced Kenya's intention to sanction Somali
leaders who were found to be threatening the peace process.
-- Tanzania expressed its strong intent to cooperate in the
fight against piracy and a willingness to enter into
ship-rider agreements in order to facilitate prosecution of
-- Thailand noted the need for better coordination and
information-sharing was illustrated by the recent sinking of
an alleged pirate mother ship by the Indian Navy, an incident
which resulted in the death of several Thai crewmembers.
-- The Republic of Korea highlighted the need for countries
to adopt national legislation that criminalizes piracy and
noted the GROK is considering the contribution of naval
assets to the counter piracy effort.
-- Egypt proposed the creation of a special international
piracy court in the region. On the margins of the conference
Egypt requested U.S. support for the proposal; the U.S.
delegation stressed the current U.S. focus on near-term PUC
solutions (disposition agreements with states in the region),
but indicated the U.S. could be supportive of assessing the
feasibility of a special court for piracy as a longer-term
-- The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) noted that it is
actively engaged in a proposal to provide legal training and
assistance to countries in the region.
-- The African Union called for additional support to the
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and development of
an AMISOM maritime program. On the margins of the
conference, AU representatives met with maritime
representatives from key regional states (Kenya, Djibouti,
and Tanzania), the EU maritime task force, and the IMO to
build support for AU maritime role.
6. (SBU) U.S. CALLS FOR GREATER INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION,
EMPHASIZES RESPONSIBILITIES OF SHIPPING INDUSTRY, AND
HIGHLIGHTS SUPPORT FOR AMISOM. The U.S. statement noted
substantial U.S. contributions to the international effort to
fight piracy off Somalia, called for greater international
cooperation and coordination in counter-piracy efforts,
emphasized the need for industry to take appropriate
self-protective measures, and highlighted U.S. support for
broader efforts to achieve peace and stability in Somalia,
including support for AMISOM. The U.S. also noted that while
the ultimate solution to piracy lies in achieving peace and
stability in Somalia, the Somali people and the international
community cannot wait for the stabilization and recovery of
Somalia to begin taking more concrete actions to stop piracy.
7. (SBU) RUSSIA EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR CONTACT GROUP. Head of
Russian Delegation Vasiliy Titushkin expressed Russia's
strong support for the U.S.-led Contact Group on Somali
Piracy. In a pull-aside, he expressed support for the U.S.
"approach" to the fight against piracy. He noted that Russia
would meet with the EU the following week to discuss possible
Russian participation in Operation Atalanta. Titushkin also
noted that land-based piracy operations in Somalia might
require specific legal authority from the Security Council.
8. (SBU) EGYPT EXPRESSES STRONG RESERVATIONS ABOUT
INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION SUBREGIONAL AGREEMENT.
The Egyptian and IMO delegations pulled AF and L
representatives aside to discuss concerns about the draft IMO
subregional MOU on combating piracy and armed robbery at sea.
IMO will hold informal consultations with a subset of
regional States in early January to seek wider grounds for
agreement prior to a January 26-29 meeting in Djibouti to
finalize the MOU.