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Russia urges NATO to help fix legal gray area for pirates

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Russia's ambassador to NATO called Wednesday on the alliance's leadership to support Russia's initiative to develop an international legal framework to deal with pirates on the high seas.

 Russia's ambassador to NATO called Wednesday on the alliance's leadership to support Russia's initiative to develop an international legal framework to deal with pirates on the high seas.

"I turn to NATO and to the secretary general personally with a proposal to show political will and exert influence on certain Western states that are currently skeptical of ... Russia's resolution sent to the UN, which refers to the fact that the UN secretary general should present within three months various options for prosecuting pirates," Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti.

He warned that without the proper legal framework, the fight against piracy will always be "a game of cowboys and Indians" in which the pirates are caught and then released.

Many NATO ambassadors consider piracy not just a regional, but an international problem, Rogozin said after a Russian-NATO discussion on ways of fighting piracy in Brussels.

"Piracy is not just about those who seize the vessels," he said. "This is a complete organized crime network, which has its customers, executors and 'cleaners' for laundering dirty money and legitimizing the ransoms received for releasing hostages."

"I hope, to some extent I've managed to convince my colleagues to act more decisively in this area," Rogozin said.

The inadequacies in international law were highlighted when the Russian Navy detained 10 Somalia pirates who had hijacked a Russian-owned oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.

The Moscow University case became the last straw for Russia, which was forced to release the pirates in one of their boats after it became clear they did not fall under the jurisdiction of any state or international law.

The fate of the pirates is unknown, although they are believed to have perished at sea after their release 350 miles from the Somali coast without any navigational aids.

BRUSSElS, May 19 (RIA Novosti)

 

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