Franz Josef Jung
GERMANY has confirmed its intention to send a frigate and up to 1,400 soldiers to the Gulf of Aden as part of a European Union operation to tackle Somali piracy.
The deployment will form part of the first-ever EU naval operation, in an effort to protect vessels delivering food aid to the poverty-stricken African nation, as well as merchant shipping in general.
Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung told journalists in Berlin that ships involved with the World Food Programme and other vessels carrying humanitarian goods will be the main priority, Reuters reports.
The German lower house of parliament is set to vote on the anti-piracy mission on December 19. The German frigate Karlsruhe is to be made available to the EU mission immediately afterwards.
German forces currently serve at the Horn of Africa under the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom and have come to the aid of ships which have been attacked. However, Germany’s defence ministry says that the rules of engagement for that mission only allow them to provide emergency assistance, not to directly target pirates.