France urges Europeans to help train Somali forces in fight against pirates

France's foreign minister has urged other European countries to join French troops in training Somali security forces to fight piracy and terrorism. At an international conference Thursday on Somalia, France will offer to use its troops stationed in Djibouti to train Somali forces. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, in a column in Wednesday's Le Figaro newspaper, said that international naval efforts to protect ships from pirates are not enough to secure the region, and that more must be done to shore up Somalia's government. "Returning control over their security to Somalis, that is the goal of the meeting Thursday in Brussels," Kouchner wrote. "The battle against piracy and against terrorism, but also the stability of all Eastern Africa," is at stake, he said. He reiterated France's offer to help train Somali troops, and added, "I have a wish that we will be joined by European partners in the training of Somali forces." France has played a prominent role in international efforts to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden, sending naval ships to the region to protect aid shipments and other boats, and spearheading a Europe-wide anti-piracy effort.