Somali Government Agrees, or Not, to US Navy Help

From the State Department Briefing of April 18:

QUESTION:  Apparently, the Somali Government has given the U.S. Navy permission to patrol its waters for pirates.  I just wondered whether you had any details on this.  There seemed to be kind of conflicting reports coming out of the region.  There was also this story last November where a U.S. company, Bobcats -- was it Bobcats?  Or Top Cat, sorry.  Top Cat Marine Security was given this big contract to fight piracy.  I just wondered where the U.S. Navy fitted in with this and was the embassy involved in trying to negotiate a deal.

MR. MCCORMACK:  I'll look into it for you, Sue.  Anything else on --

QUESTION:  Can I just -- so was that -- so you can't confirm the fact that the U.S. has made a deal to --

MR. MCCORMACK:  With respect to piracy, our military forces are very active in that region around the Horn of Africa and the Department of Defense has talked many times about the operations, counterterrorism operations that they've had as well as meeting whatever international obligations they may have with respect to preventing piracy.

Now, on the discrete question of has the United States been in contact with the Government of Somalia on this particular issue, I'm happy to look into it for you.  I don't have the particular information for you on that. I can speak in general about the fact that our military is very active in that region for a variety of different reasons.

QUESTION: But just to make that slightly more specific there, according to the copy that we have out of Nairobi, transitional Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has said that they secured a "milestone" agreement, which is a very specific agreement, to undertake these patrols there.  So we need a sort of confirmation or a yes or no --

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm happy to look into that for you, Peter.  I don't have the information up here and it's not an issue that I discussed with people before I came out.