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EU extends mandate of Somalia based naval force to 2020

Storyline:National News, Security
FILE: A military helicopter aboard a EU NAVFOR warship off the coast of Somalia. Photo: Goobjoog News

The European Union Council has extended the mandate of its naval force, EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta which has been operating in the coast of Somalia to deter piracy for until December 31, 2020.

In a decision Monday, the Council said EU NAVFOR will continue operations in Somalia in line with the ‘EU’s comprehensive approach for a peaceful, stable and democratic Somalia.’

The Council also voted to relocate EU NAVFOR’s headquarters from Northwood (UK) to Rota (Spain), and to Brest (France) for the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) as of 29 March 2019. This follows the move by Britain to exit the EU bloc. The Council also allocated a budget  budget of €11.777 million for the common costs of the operation for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020.

The mission is currently supported by 19 EU nations and 2 partner nations, with aircraft and warships from Spain, Italy and Germany and Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments rotating between Lithuanian, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. There is also a Support Element group deployed in Djibouti plus a network of liaison officers across the region.

The naval force has been in operation since 2008 countering and deterring piracy off the coast of Somalia and escorting World Food Programme ships to the Horn of Africa nation.