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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

U.N. Calls for Release of Hijacked Ship but backs off threat of total cut-off

Maybe the headline on my last post on the WFP ship should have read "UN to Somalia poor -'Drop dead!'" based on articles like this and this.

However, the UN WFP has apparently recanted/denied/backed off its threat not to deliver food to Somalia for "ten years" if the pirate-seized World Food Program ship is not released as reported here:
The World Food Program said Wednesday it hoped negotiations between a shipping company and a group of pirates would lead to the release of a ship that was hijacked last month while carrying U.N. food aid for tsunami victims in Somalia.

Somali gunmen boarded the MV Semlow on June 27 and took the crew of 10 hostage.

Caroline Hurford, a spokeswoman for the Rome-based agency, said shipments to Somalia remain suspended. She warned that dwindling food stocks in the country are endangering those depending on the aid.

Hurford denied reports that the agency issued an ultimatum threatening to suspend shipments to Somalia for 10 years if the ship were not returned in 48 hours.

"What we meant was that we are suspending shipments and this could lead, unless they are restarted, to a suspension of distribution, because obviously the stocks will run out," she said.
Maybe cooler heads prevailed, but it's an interesting study in disavowing prior comments...

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