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NATO extends anti-piracy mission until 2014
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) March 19, 2012

NATO agreed Monday to extend its anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia until the end of 2014, stressing that foreign navies are helping to reduce the number of hijackings.

Operation Ocean Shield, which currently has four warships at sea, has patrolled the Horn of Africa, acted to disrupt armed robberies on the high seas and escorted UN ships bringing aid to Mogadishu since 2008.

The international efforts are "making a difference, with the number of successful pirate hijacking down significantly in 2012," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen wrote on Twitter.

"Our message to the pirates is clear, your ability to threaten shipping is diminishing and NATO resolve is not going away," he said, announcing that NATO's decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, extended the mission.

The European Union, which has deployed its own counter-piracy operation, will consider this week whether to allow its warships to fire at trucks, supplies, boats and fuel stocked by pirates on the beaches.

NATO, however, has decided to continue limiting its mission to sea operations.

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Security improves in Mekong river
Beijing (IANS) Mar 13, 2012
A four-nation joint patrol of the Mekong river has improved the security of the vessels following a deadly attack last year, reports Xinhua. Shipping on the river had been suspended after two cargo ships were attacked Oct 5, resulting in the death of 13 Chinese sailors. China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand have started the initiative in December last year to boost security in the river, ... read more

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