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UN Envoy Says World Has Ignored Piracy Long Enough

A United Nations envoy says the world has ignored piracy long enough.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said Thursday at an international piracy conference in Kenya that underestimating the pirates off the coast of Somalia has cost the world tens of millions of dollars in ransom money this year.

On Wednesday, diplomats at the U.N. said the United States is seeking international authorization to pursue Somali pirates on land.

Those diplomats say the U.S. has circulated a draft resolution proposing that all nations and regional groups chasing pirates off the Somali coast be allowed to follow them onshore. The text stipulates that Somalia's transitional government would need to give its consent.

Somali pirates have hijacked some 40 ships this year and currently hold about 15 vessels and their crews.

Germany contributes troops, warship to anti-piracy force

Earlier Wednesday, Germany's cabinet approved a plan to contribute 1400 troops and a warship to the European Union's anti-piracy force off the coast of Somalia.

The force provides protection for humanitarian aid ships and other vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden.

The United States, India, Malaysia and Russia also have ships patrolling the waters off Somalia. Russia announced Wednesday it is sending more ships to help with the effort.

The European Union formally launched its own anti-piracy operation on Monday. The force will initially have at least three European warships and two surveillance planes at its disposal to stop pirate hijackings.