By De Birhan
July 5, 2012
July 5, 2012
Horn of Africa and Indian Ocean Maritime Pic.
With up to 95% of EU member states’ trade (by volume) transported by sea and 20% of global trade passing through the Gulf of Aden, according to a June 07, 2012 report by EUNAVFOR, the considerable concern and engagement of the European Union (EU) is understandable.
Cognizant of these vested interests, the EU has been involved on the peace,security and development issues of the Horn of Africa (HOA). Especially, following the adoption of a “Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa” by the EU Council of Ministers on 14 November 2011, EU’s involvement in the region has been framework and intensified. EU has recently launched new projects and programs to combat piracy and for peace and security of the HoA.
De Birhan has learnt that the EU, following its two earlier missions the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR – Operation Atalanta) and the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia, has launched a new civilian mission to strengthen its presence and activities in the Horn of Africa, EUCAP NESTOR. EUCAP NESTOR will be a civilian mission carried out under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), augmented with military expertise, says EU External Action in its report.
Mandated for two years, EUCAP NESTOR will have two missions : Strengthening the sea going maritime capacity of Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Seychelles and strengthening the Rule of Law sector in Somalia, with an initial focus on the regions of Puntland and Somaliland..In particular, the mission willsupport the set-up and training of a land-based coastal police force. Ultimately, the EUCAP Nestor mission will offer an exit strategy for operation Atalanta through a gradual take-over of the responsibilities for maritime security by regional states themselves, it says.
Similarly, on Wednesday 23 June 2012 a new Djiboutian Naval Operations Centre was opened in Djbouti to “provides the Djiboutian maritime forces with an enhanced capability to track ship movements in their territorial waters.” EU NAVFOR ships will be conducting exercises in the coming weeks with the Djiboutian Navy and Coast Guard.
European Naval Force Somalia – Operation ATALANTA (EU NAVFOR – ATALANTA) launched in December 2008 has also been extended until December 2014. It typically comprises 4 – 7 Surface Combat Vessels and 2 – 3 Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft. EU NAVFOR ATALANTA operates in a mission area covering an area from the south of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Western part of the Indian Ocean including the Seychelles. The area of Operation also includes Somali coastal territory as well as its territorial and internal waters. The EU Training Mission (EUTM Somalia) on the other hand, trains Somali soldiers in Uganda to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the institutions of Somalia.