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UN Piracy Resolution Dodges Toxic Waste and Sinking of Wrong Ship, Somali TFG's Sphere to Shrink

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- As the UN Security Council congratulated itself for Tuesday's resolution about Somali piracy, unresolved are the problems of the dumping of toxic waste on Somali shores, the sinking of a fishing ship and its crew in the name of fighting pirates, and the lack of popularity of the UN-based Transitional Federal Government as its Ethiopian backers threatened to leave at month's end.

   Even the UN's envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, has said the European Union must stop its ships from dumping on Somalia. But when Inner City Press asked Ambassador Ripert of France, which still holds the EU's presidency, about how toxic waste will be dealt with, he said he was not prepared for the question. Video here. 

  When Inner City Press asked him about reports that the Indian navy's loudly proclaimed sinking of a pirate "mother ship" last month turned out to be a fishing ship, he said, You should ask the Indians. But the shooting was done under the cover of Security Council resolution.

  The U.S. representative, Rosemarie DiCarlo, came out of the Council and said the U.S. is working "bilaterally" to try to stabilize Somalia. Inner City Press asked if that meant speaking with the Ethiopians, since the U.S. armed them and gave them the green light to drive on Mogadishu back in December 2006. Video here. Apparently it does. But the Ethiopians make good on their word, to leave by the end of this month, expect the TFG's sphere of influence to shrink even further.

  Of the TFG, a Somali source of Inner City Press opines that "on the TFG side the President he is against the agreement as it was between one clan -- the prime minister and Sheikh Sharif are of the same clan. The speaker of the parliament is now expected to fly to Puntland to join the Presidents effort in opposing the agreement. Both see their influence will be diluted by the addition of 275 more members to the parliament and they do not want to have to run for the offices they are already possess."

Amb. Ripert of France and EU, no comment on toxic waste or wrong-ship down

  Compared to this real politik, the UK Deputy Permanent Representative Karen Pierce took a more legal-minded approach, speaking about the right and responsibility of member states, parties to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, to "accept delivery of persons responsible for or suspected of seizing or exercising control over a ship by force or there thereof."

  But when one suspects a person or ship of piracy, is that enough to fire and sink the vessel? Inner City Press asked Amb. Pierce what recourse the owner of a erroneously downed ship would have. She said she wasn't sure, nor about the applicability of the SUA Convention to the problems of toxic waste dumping. Video here.

News analysis: And so what exactly were these Council members congratulating themselves for, with this belated and repetitive resolution? South Africa's outgoing Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, asked as he entered the Council chamber about the resolution, groaned dismissively and told Inner City Press, they're never going to do anything for Somalia, haven't you understood that? 

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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