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EU set to back strikes on Somali pirate lairs

Tigrai Online
March 23, 2012

The European Union will likely approve plans Friday to strike Somali pirate equipment on beaches, widening the scope of its naval operations four years into a mission to protect shipping.

Germany had voiced reservations about plans to allow EU warships and helicopters to fire at trucks, supplies, boats and fuel stowed on the coast of Somalia, but a minister indicated Thursday that Berlin would now back the plans.

"Military officers say they want to render harmless the ships on the beach that could be used. This was a convincing argument," German deputy defence minister Christian Schmidt said after a meeting of EU defence chiefs in Brussels.

EU officials have stressed that the new mandate would not call for the deployment of troops on the ground in Somalia.

"We made clear that this should be limited actions against assets on the edge of the beach. Piracy must be fought at sea," Schmidt said.

Source AFP

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