Egypt blocking Somaliland and Ethiopia?

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The United States Department said that Egypt has put forward new ideas on the international working group for combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden and for the security of the Suez Canal. It said that these ideas are being studied in Washington with the goal of implementing them.

America In Arabic News Agency quoted a statement by American Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political and Military Affairs Thomas Countryman as saying that Egypt put forward some ideas, however, he did not explain the full details of the proposals.

Countryman said that “Egypt is the fourth President of the International Working Group, but the ideas need to be taken forward for implementation and application, and in a better way while providing the necessary funding for it.”

The State Department said that more than 20 countries now participate in the international naval force, which works to secure the navigation in the Gulf of Aden.

According to the US there is, on any given day, an average of 17 military naval ships patrolling the Gulf of Aden, “which is partly related to passing through the Suez Canal in Egypt.”

The canal is one of Egypt’s largest sources for foreign capital and Cairo believes that securing the Canal Zone and the gulf would go a long way in getting ships to return to shipping via the canal.

The State Department said in its statement that the international force “is working steadily” and securing some 30 000 cargo ships crossing from this corridor each year, many of which passes through the Suez Canal in Egypt.

The statement quoted Countryman as saying that the “warships of the United States and the European Union and NATO and a number of other countries, including Russia, China, South Korea, and Japan are working together under a united international leadership.”

He said that 24 countries formed in January 2009 a “contact group” on piracy off the coast of Somalia “under the umbrella of the United Nations.”

The group now comprises 47 countries and 10 international organizations.

Countrymen said that progress in the fight against piracy happens “consistently and steadily but not dramatically,” adding that the number of successful attacks waged by the pirates in the region has declined.

The US had earlier said that Egypt, the United States, the United Kingdom and Denmark are leading the four teams to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden off the Somali Coast. This comes as piracy in the gulf continues to run without much hindrance, although international forces have been stationed in the area in an effort to curtail the hijacking of vessels that travel through the waters upon leaving the Suez Canal.

Pic: Suez Canal

Source: www.somalilandpress.com