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Seven Military Ships Heading to Bab Al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden Regional Summit for Fighting Piracy Postponed

  Written By: Hakim Almasmari ( YEMEN POST STAFF ) 
  Article Date:
October 20, 2008


Yemen announced that it will postpone the regional summit for fighting piracy, which was planned to be held in Sana'a next week. Participating countries were expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for mutual cooperation between them in fighting piracy.

From his part, Minster of Transportation, Khalid Al-Wazir, told media outlets that the postponing came in response to the Regional Center for Combating Piracy request, adding that the summit will be held later this year.

Al-Wazir assured that Yemen will establish a center in Sana'a for monitoring ships in collaboration with 20 countries and International Maritime Organization.

In the meantime, seven military ships from six different countries have headed to Bab Al-Mandab Strait and Gulf of Aden in a mission to fight Somali pirates, and to protect trade ships and fisheries from pirates operations, whose attacks have risen over the last few months, especially in the international waters between Yemen and Somalia.

This comes within the country's efforts to restrict piracy activities targeting ships off Yemen's coasts, especially in the Gulf of  Aden and Indian Ocean.

Piracy activities have long been a headache for international navigation in the Gulf of Aden, which is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and connects Asia and Europe.

A Yemeni official who preferred not to reveal himself, told a Chinese agency that president Saleh's visit to regional countries came as the result of the Yemeni government's worry for business ships that pass by the Gulf of Aden.

The sudden movement by regional countries came after pirate's hijacked a Ukrainian ship that was believed to be carrying seven tankers. Further, pirates warned that they would explode the ship if procedures were taken against them.

Sources who asked to be left anonymous mentioned to the Yemen Post that the tanks that were on the Ukrainian ship were on their way to Yemen, and were part of the military agreement signed between Russia and Yemen.

Chairman of the Russian Federation Council  Mrs. Sergey Meronof said last Friday while visiting Yemen that her country intends to send more military ships soon to free the Ukrainian ship if needed.