EU extends piracy operations near Somalia

June 15, 2010 at 11:32 AM
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BRUSSELS, June 15 (UPI) -- European security operations in the Gulf of Aden meant to thwart piracy are extended through December 2012, the European Union announced.

The Council of the European Union agreed to extend the mandate for Operation Atalanta for another two years.

The council said it "notes with concern" the impact that piracy was having on regional economic and security issues.

"The council reiterates its determination to strengthen the EU's overall engagement to enhance regional capacity to fight piracy," the council said in a statement from Brussels.

In renewing the mandate for Operation Atalanta, the council also extended the area of operations to respond to the increasing range of pirate attacks off the Somali coast.

The renewal follows a Somali pirate attack on a Yemeni oil tanker in the Red Sea during the weekend. The official Saba news agency in Yemen reports that security guards drove the pirates away but not before one guard was injured during the melee.

Saba said the pirates fled the area and the tanker was directed to the western Yemeni port of al-Hudaydah.

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