NATO defence mins agree to send ships to counter piracy off Somalia
1. Various of NATO family photo
2. Wide of meeting between NATO and non-NATO ISAF contributors
3. Close up of NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
5. Various of meeting
6. Wide pan of news conference
7. Wide of NATO Spokesman, James Appathurai on stage
8. SOUNDBITE: (English) James Appathurai, NATO spokesman:
“NATO will have its standing naval maritime group, which is composed of seven ships, in the region within two weeks. Nations agreed that NATO would make use of that presence – not necessarily all of the seven ships but some of those ships – to do two things: one, to insure that the World Food Programme (WFP) ships have the escort they need to deliver their essential food supplies, and more generally to the patrol the waters around Somalia to help stop acts of piracy.”
9. Various cutaways
10. SOUNDBITE: (English) James Appathurai, NATO spokesman:
“The Supreme Allied commander presented to the allies his thoughts on what roles allies might play, NATO, ISAF might play, in expanding its role in the fight against narcotics inside Afghanistan. There was a very open exchange of views.”
11. Various cutaways
12. SOUNDBITE: (English) James Appathurai, NATO spokesman:
“There was no discussion this morning or in the first meeting, excuse me on opening up NATO relations or talks of any kind with the Taliban. I don’t think NATO sees it as its role to engage in talks with the Taliban.”
13. Wide of NATO meeting
NATO defence ministers agreed on Thursday to send warships to patrol the coast of Somalia to deter pirate attacks and escort UN food aid vessels into the lawless east African nation.
NATO’s chief spokesman, James Appathurai said ministers agreed that a seven-ship NATO force would be in the region within two weeks.
Some, but not necessarily all, will operate anti-pirate patrols and escort World Food Programme ships, he told a news conference.
Appathurai said a NATO naval group based in the Mediterranean sea would sail to the Horn of Africa. NATO officials said they would stay until at least December.
The force currently consists of destroyers from Italy and the United States, frigates from Germany, Greece, Turkey and Britain and a German auxiliary vessel.
Momentum has been growing for coordinated international action against the growing pirate menace following the seizure late last month of a Ukrainian cargo ship laden with tanks and heavy weaponry.
Several European Union countries last week said they would launch an anti-piracy patrol, and Russia announced it would cooperate with the West on fighting the pirates.
US warships, meanwhile, are being diverted from counter-terrorism duties to respond to the seafaring bandits.
NATO will coordinate with organisations including the European Union to avoid duplication, Appathurai told reporters on the sidelines of the defence ministers’ talks.
He said NATO decided to act after receiving a request for help from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Appathurai also commented that NATO discussions were underway concerning a role for NATO in fighting the drug trade in Afghanistan.
But he denied reports that NATO allies were discussing the possibility of engaging in diplomatic talks with the Taliban.
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