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US Encouraged Russia's Antipiracy Efforts off Somalia

US Encouraged Russia's Antipiracy Efforts off Somalia 23.04.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo: boston.com
The US Administration makes much of Russia's contribution to anti-piracy campaign off Somalia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Thomas Kelly said.

He delivered a counter-piracy briefing for foreign press and discussed operations in the Gulf of Aden and near the Horn of Africa.

"Russia is a very active participant in the Contact Group off the Coast of Somalia", Kelly said. "When I was in New York a few weeks ago, I met with my Russian counterpart and we shared perspectives on the problem", he added.

According to the spokesman, "the Russian Navy is active in the Indian Ocean" supporting the multinational anti-piracy coalition there.

"We very much value Russian participation in the coalition", Kelly stressed.

Ships of Russia's Northern, Pacific, and Baltic fleets by rotation have been escorting commercial vessels off Somalia since Oct 2008. According to Russian Navy Main HQ, in 2011 they had escorted over 30 convoys with 168 vessels flying flags of 27 countries, including 62 ships with Russian sailors on board. The Pacific Fleet anti-piracy task unit is presently deployed to the region.

The Contact Group was established in Jan 2009 under aegis of the UN. Presently, the group comprises almost 70 countries and ten international organizations including NATO and European Union.

According to Kelly, such cooperation has led to "50 percent reduction" in pirate success rate last year (28 ships were pirated comparing to 49 ones in the previous year). "The only conclusion you can reach is that we're indeed succeeding very well", reports ITAR-TASS citing Thomas Kelly.

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