Pledge of €190m to fight pirates

DONORS pledged more than $250 million (€190m) yesterday to help Somalia strengthen its security forces and try to stop the rampant pirate attacks that have plagued one of the world’s most important waterways.

The hefty sum included funding for equipment and material that significantly exceeded the request made by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, EU development commissioner Louis Michel said.

The UN-sponsored international donors’ conference originally aimed to raise at least €128m ($166m) to finance African Union peacekeepers already in the Horn of Africa nation as well as Somalia’s fledgling police and security forces.

Stabilising Somalia was the focus of yesterday’s meeting, but quashing the persistent piracy jeopardising international shipping also topped the agenda.

“Piracy is a symptom of anarchy and insecurity on the ground,” Ban told the delegates. “More security on the ground will make less piracy on the seas.”

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