, UNITED NATIONS, May 11 – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon later this month will attend an international conference on restoring stability in Somalia and stemming rampant piracy off its waters, his spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday.
Nesirky said Ban is to take part in the May 22 conference in Istanbul, which aims to "advance the Djibouti peace process and its objectives of political stability, security and reconstruction."
He was referring to a 2008 UN-sponsored deal to form a unity government between the Djibouti-based Islamist-led opposition Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) and Ethiopia, which had been propping up the weak, secular government in Mogadishu since late 2006, but pulled its troops out of Somalia in January 2009.
The transitional federal government-ARS alliance faces serious challenges in establishing legitimacy and authority in Somalia — issues which were to form part of the UN leader\’s agenda.
Meanwhile the UN Security Council last month unanimously adopted a Russian-drafted resolution urging all states to toughen legislation aimed at prosecuting and jailing pirates caught off Somalia.
The 15-member body appealed to all states, including those in the Horn of Africa, "to criminalize piracy under their domestic law and favorably consider the prosecution of suspected, and imprisonment of convicted pirates" arrested off the coast of Somalia.
The text asks Ban to present to the council within three months a report outlining various options of a stronger international legal system to deal with acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off Somalia.
Options are to focus on creating special domestic chambers, possibly with international components, a regional or international tribunal and corresponding jailing arrangements.