UN to vote on resolution to help combat piracy along Somalia's coast

A draft UN resolution finalized on Friday would allow foreign ships to enter Somali waters to capture and prevent acts of piracy and armed robbery. Piracy is rampant along Somalia's 3,025-kilometer coast, which is the longest in Africa and near key shipping routes connecting the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean. The seas around Somalia have seen more than a dozen pirate attacks this year alone. On Wednesday, two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Aden. The draft resolution, which the Security Council expects to vote on Monday, is in part a response to letters from both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Somali government that asked for international help in combatting the problem. Somalia's letter to the Security Council asked for "urgent assistance in securing the territorial and international waters off the coast of Somalia for the safe conduct of shipping and navigation," according to the draft. Wracked by more than a decade of violence and anarchy, Somalia does not have a navy, and a transitional government formed in 2004 with UN help has struggled to assert control. The US Navy has led international patrols to try to combat piracy in the region. For a period of six months, the resolution would allow states cooperating with Somalia's transitional government to "enter the territorial waters of Somalia for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea."