Top EU diplomat Ashton begins anti-piracy tour
By Peter Greste
BBC News, Nairobi
The EU’s top diplomat is to visit East Africa at the start of a tour aimed at curbing piracy off Somalia’s coast.The EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, has said she wants to encourage a regional approach to the problem. In Nairobi, she will be confronted by Kenyan leaders fed up with carrying what they say has been the burden of responsibility for dealing with piracy. Kenya has agreed to prosecute pirates caught at sea by the EU force – the only nation in the region to do so. It was to have been part of a wider regional effort. But so far no other country has agreed to let suspects into their legal system, and the Kenyans have called a halt to their own prosecutions. A spokesman for Baroness Ashton said she wanted to find out what the EU could do to get them to resume. She is also planning to head to Tanzania to encourage political leaders there to share the legal burden, before she finishes her tour in the Seychelles. The spokesman said she would attend a regional ministerial conference aimed at forging a more unified approach to the problem. But piracy is a symptom of the lawlessness in Somalia, and unless they can find a way to deal with that, it’s likely to remain a headache.