Egypt, Somalia pledge to jointly fight piracy

April 22, 2009 11:05 am 

CAIRO, April 22 — Visiting Somali President Sheik Sharif and his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday agreed here to cooperate in fighting the pirates that have haunted the high sea off the Somali coasts, Local Nile TV reported.

"Our priority now is to restore security," the Somali president told the news channel.

"The Somali government is committed to relieving the Somali people, apart from rebuilding the country," he added.

The talks came days after the Somali pirates have abducted two Egyptian fishing boats on April 12, which carried 24 persons on board.

Sharif arrived earlier on Tuesday in Cairo on a two-day visit, the first one for the Somali president since he took office in January.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Tuesday in a press release that the Egyptian-Somali ties are deep-rooted and Egypt keeps an eye on what is happening in Somalia.

Abu Gheit noted that Egypt will support Somalia to fight against piracy as it is in common interest for both countries.

Moreover, the foreign ministry spokesman Hosam Zaki said that Egypt helped Somalis with food and medicine. The Egyptian government also provided training to the Somalis police, as well as sent Egyptian teachers and doctors to the country.

Earlier, the pirates have released BlueStar, an Egyptian ship with 28 crew on board, for one million U.S. dollars after holding it for one month.

Sharif said Monday during his stay in Turkey that he was willing to cut two-thirds of the pirates attacks if the donor countries supported him to rebuild the Somali forces. (PNA/Xinhua) FFC/ebp

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