BRUSSELS, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union noted a decline in piracy activity off the coast of Somalia, the EU Foreign Affairs Council said in a Monday press release following a meeting in Luxembourg.
"The EU welcomes the significant decline in piracy activity in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean and encourages the Federal Government to further increase its contribution to this success. However, networks supporting piracy are still operating and the threat of piracy remains," the statement said.
The Council also expressed concern with regard to the reports on the recent release of a pirate leader in Somalia's capital Mogadishu and underscored the need for the authorities to "end impunity of piracy network leaders and strengthen the rule of law."
"The prosecution of piracy leaders remains a prerequisite for the disruption of piracy networks' operational capabilities. Therefore the EU calls on Somali authorities to take concrete measures towards the establishment of such legislative framework pertaining to piracy and maritime crime," the Foreign Affairs Council conclusion said.
The Council also urged the Mogadishu authorities to establish an independent national electoral commission in order to carry out a legitimate vote in 2016.
Global powers launched anti-piracy missions in response to a rising amount of piracy off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean in 2009. The operation has been extended until the end of 2014.
Somalia ceased to exist as a unified state in 1991 with the fall of the dictatorial regime of Siad Barre. The international community recognizes the federal government, which controls Mogadishu and some adjacent areas, as the only legitimate authority in the country.
The remaining parts of Somalia are currently under control of unrecognized state entities or are self-governing territories. Certain areas of southern and northeastern Somalia are ruled by local clans and radical Islamist movements, including the militant group Al-Shabaab.