EU Extends Counter-piracy Operations Off Somalia By Two More Years

The European Council on Friday extended the EU's counter-piracy operation "Atalanta" by two more years until 2014 December.

The mission's main tasks are the protection of vessels of the World Food Program delivering food aid to the displaced population in Somalia and fighting piracy off the Somali coast.

The Council also decided to extend the force's area of operations to include Somali coastal territory as well as its territorial and internal waters. This is to enable Operation Atalanta to work directly with the Transitional Federal Government and other Somali entities to support their fight against piracy from the coastal area.

In accordance with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Somali government has notified the U.N. Secretary-General of its acceptance of the EU's offer for this new collaboration.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said "fighting piracy and its root causes is a priority of our action in the Horn of Africa. Operation Atalanta has made a significant contribution to this effort, in coordination with our international partners."

A budget of EUR 14.9 million is provided for the common costs of the prolonged mandate.

Operation Atalanta is the EU's fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa with its headquarters in the United Kingdom under the Command of Rear Admiral Duncan Potts.

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