Wonder of wonders: France offers to send warship off Somalia to deter pirates:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said here Tuesday that his country was prepared to send a warship off Somalia to protect delivery of international food aid to beleaguered Somalis from attacks by pirates.World Food Program is thankful:
"France is prepared to send a warship to protect humanitarian supplies," he told reporters after chairing a Security Council on Africa.
Piracy is common in the waters off Somalia, which has been without an effective government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre sparked a bloody power struggle.
"France stands ready to ensure security for the assistance provided by the World Food Program in Somalia for a period of two months using naval military resources," the French leader told the 15-member Council. "I call on all those who wish to do so to join this initiative".
Speaking in Nairobi, WFP spokesman Marcus Prior told AFP the offer would provide "great protection against piracy in Somali waters" and that the agency was already in contact with France on details of the protection.Now, just set up some convoys and escort the heck out of them...
Somalia has been in the grip of near continual civil war since 2001. About 1.5 million of the 10 million population rely on humanitarian aid, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Because of the disastrous state of the country's roads and the civil unrest, aid organisations prefer to use boats and 80 percent of UN aid reaches the Somalia by sea.
But the cargo ships are a prime target for pirates, who operate high powered speed boats and carry heavy machine guns and rocket launchers.