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LONDON, February 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Navy will continue to participate in an international operation for the struggle against the pirates off Somalia, but Russia does not intend to deliver strikes on the bases of pirates on the land, the chairman of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs and the Russian special presidential representative for cooperation with African countries, Mikhail Margelov, told Itar-Tass on Thursday. He participated in an international conference on Somalia in the British capital on Thursday.
“The Russian Navy will continue to participate in an operation for the struggle against Somali pirates and, unfortunately, as the piracy is not suppressed yet, Russia will continue to participate in it,” Margelov said,
At the beginning of next week the European Union intends to extend the Atalanta military naval operation until 2014 to protect international navigation from the pirates off Somalia. Western media reported that the EU also intends to make the mandate of its forces in the operation broader and permit the warships to shell the ground bases of pirates. Meanwhile, the mandate of European forces will not envisage a landing operation on Somalia.
Russia is not planning similar broader tasks of its warships, which are participating in the operation against Somali pirates, Margelov noted. “We have all forces and capabilities to carry out any operations in any part of the world, but we will not disperse our forces in order just to demonstrate them,” Margelov pointed out.
He believes that the problem of Somali piracy cannot be solved only by the use of forces and the world should give assistance to Somalia in the restoration of economy and state institutes for the victory over piracy.
Margelov emphasized that the struggle against Somali piracy meets Russian national interests. The region, where the pirates are rampaging, is very important for international trade, including Russian trade.
“The piracy situation off Somalia is not mere words for us. Therefore, Russian warships are on a patrolling mission together with international forces off Somalia and are fighting actively against pirates,” he noted. “But for us it is also absolutely obvious that the struggle against pirates in the sea means to cure the symptoms of the disease, rather than the reasons for the disease. I agree with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, which said to me at a personal meeting in Kampala a week ago and repeated his position at the London conference: we should make the young Somali generation side with us on the land, if we want to eradicate piracy in the sea. It is necessary to provide conditions for business, restore the agrarian sector in Somalia, revive normal trade relations between different parts of the country. A normal country should be created in Somalia from a volatile state. It is clear that no one but the Somalis will cope with this task, but the international community can and should help them in this,” Margelov underlined.