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US Denies Reports of Agreement to Patrol Somali Waters


U.S. officials are denying reports that the U.S. Navy has agreed to patrol the waters off Somalia's coast to prevent piracy.

Somalia's Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said this week that the agreement was reached during talks with the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, William Bellamy.

But Reuters news agency quotes a spokesman for U.S. Fifth Fleet as saying the Navy has no agreement with the Somali government. Other U.S. officials say they are unaware of any such agreement.

U.S. embassy officials in Nairobi had no comment on the issue.

Somalia has had no coast guard or navy since 1991, when the country fell into chaos after rebels ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Pirates operating off the coast have hijacked numerous vessels over the past year, including a South Korea fishing ship seized this month.

U.S. Navy ships have confronted pirates at least twice off the coast of Somalia this year, killing one person and injuring five others.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.