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Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 19:58 UK

Spain backs UN anti-piracy force

Basque trawler Playa de Bakio before it was seized off Somalia
The Playa de Bakio was attacked 400km off the Somali coast

The Spanish government has called for a United Nations-backed force to tackle piracy at sea, after a Spanish trawler and its crew were seized off Somalia.

Spain's ambassador to Kenya has gone to Somalia to press for the release of the 26 crew of the Playa de Bakio.

In a statement the government said there should be a "powerful and effective collective security system" in the Indian Ocean.

It said it was discussing a UN resolution with France and the US.

France proposed the creation of an international force earlier this month when the 30 crew of a French luxury yacht were taken hostage and later freed after a ransom was paid.

Six Somalis were then captured and charged by a court in Paris.

The Basque tuna boat was attacked about 400km (250 miles) off the Somali coast on Saturday.

Map

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told public television that no demand had yet been made by the kidnappers.

"We have to listen first to what they want, what are their demands, so we have to wait," he said.

A Spanish warship was due to arrive off Somalia late on Wednesday but Mr Moratinos told RNE radio that an international response was now necessary.

"I think the international community must react, to establish a rotational checking and monitoring mechanism with our naval forces, in order to guarantee the security and protection of all those who work and pass through that area," Mr Moratinos said.

Last year, more than 25 ships were seized by pirates in Somali coastal waters.




SEE ALSO
France charges Somali 'pirates'
18 Apr 08 |  Europe
Country profile: Somalia
11 Apr 08 |  Country profiles


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