$250M pledged to combat Somali piracy

April 23, 2009 at 4:01 PM

BRUSSELS, April 23 (UPI) -- EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel said Thursday's conference in Brussels helped raise nearly $250 million to combat Somali piracy.

The European Commission official said nations attending the international donors conference in the Belgian city pledged the funds to help increase stability and security in Somalia, Euronews.net said.

"In absolute terms we've at least obtained the amount requested, but this also includes contributions of equipment, material and logistics," Michel said. "We're above the amount we were hoping for. This conference has been a great success."

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said having a functioning central authority in the African country would help the fight against regional piracy.

"Across all Somalia there must be responsible government of the people and for the people, and an end to 'warlordism,' and an end to piracy and an end to years of profiteering by a self-appointed military caste. So, let today's conference also begin to respond, in a fundamental way, to the daunting challenges faced by the Somali authorities in bringing back stability and peace to their country," he said. "Security is the starting point but it cannot be the end point."

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