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Security Council approves piracy sanctions

November 21, 2008|Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The Security Council voted unanimously Thursday to impose sanctions on pirates, arms smugglers and perpetrators of instability in Somalia, in a fresh attempt to help end years of lawlessness there.

The 15-seat council endorsed a British plan for a panel to recommend people and entities whose financial assets would be frozen and that would face a travel ban. It also reaffirmed an arms embargo.

Enforcing the sanctions poses challenges, however, as those responsible for much of the anarchy are well outside any traditional finance system.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when clan warlords ousted a longtime dictator. The current government, formed in 2004 with the help of the U.N., has failed to protect citizens while it battles an Islamist insurgency.

The council action was followed by discussion of the deteriorating situation in Somalia -- both on land and at sea, in a region that includes some of the world's most important shipping routes.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo called for immediate steps to stabilize the security situation, which threatens political progress and an Oct. 26 cease-fire agreement between the Somali government and insurgents.

She stressed that piracy was "a direct result of the lack of rule of law and desperate economic conditions on the ground."

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