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U.S. will not use ground troops to fight Somali piracy – State Dept.

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The United States has no plans to use ground forces to protect commercial shipping in pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast.

The United States has no plans to use ground forces to protect commercial shipping in pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast, a senior U.S. diplomat said.

Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro outlined on Wednesday new U.S. efforts to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia in response to increased attacks and violence.

"We have not endorsed to use any land base and ground forces to combat the pirates. It's better to work with security forces of Somalia," Shapiro said.

"We should organize counter-piracy operations exploring expanded military options which do not place under risk our forces," the diplomat added.

According to Shapiro, the new U.S. strategy relies heavily on "non-military" solutions, including a more effective use of courts to prosecute the pirates, consolidated efforts to find and "freeze" their financial assets, as well as an extensive use of technical means to trace pirates' movements.

At present, the United States is among at least 20 countries that are trying to combat piracy in the region, including Russia, India, Germany and Iran.

U.S. warships operate on rotation basis in the Gulf of Aden as part of the Combined Task Force 151, an international naval task force established in January 2009 to conduct counter-piracy operations off Somali coast.

Pirates have been increasingly active off Somalia as the country has had no functioning central government for two decades.

Pirates currently hold 26 ships and up to 600 crew members.

 

WASHINGTON, March 31 (RIA Novosti)

 

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