Somalia has promised all possible assistance to get 53 Indians freed from pirates, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said here on Monday. India, in return, had offered help to implement job-generating projects to tackle piracy, he noted.

“We have suggested to the Somalian government through the [Somalian] Deputy Prime Minister [Abdiweli Ali] that they should endeavour to create more jobs by taking up projects, which the Government of India will be willing to help them in implementing,” Mr. Krishna told journalists shortly after meeting Dr. Ali.

“I did bring about the issue of 53 Indians held as hostages by pirates. And I have requested that the good offices of the Somalian transitional government be used for [their] release.”

“One of the main concerns that I shared with Mr. Ali was the menace of piracy carried out by the Somalian pirates. He agreed that it is a matter of grave concern to them also and they are willing to work with India to work out a strategy.”

Mr. Ali also felt that piracy stemmed from social restlessness and unemployment, which was very high in his country. He described piracy as a “great menace.” “It is an international menace. And we have to have a common strategy and we have to have a common front against this menace.”

“This piracy has not only become a Somalian problem. It is also a regional problem, becoming an international one. So the solution does not lie with just the Somalian government,” he said.

On the issue of the Indian hostages, Mr. Ali said, “My government will make all efforts to bring them back to their families. We are trying our level best to bring them back safe and sound to India.”

Mozambique thanks India

Meanwhile, Mozambique Prime Minister Aires Bonifacio Baptista Ali thanked India for rescuing 12 of its nationals from a hijacked ship by pirates. “Let me ... express our deep appreciation to the Government of India for the actions undertaken by its maritime forces that culminated in the rescue [of] 12 Mozambicans [taken] hostage since last February,” he said in his opening remarks at the CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India-Africa Project, which opened here on Monday.

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