MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign
minister has met with his Somali counterpart to discuss
international efforts to protect shipping routes in the Gulf of
Aden from Somali pirate attacks, the Russian ministry said.
Lavrov met with Muhammad Abdullahi Omar on Saturday on the
sidelines of the Organization of the Islamic Conference foreign
ministers' meeting in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
"The sides agreed on the need to achieve a strong national
reconciliation in this country, in the interests of
strengthening security and stability in the region. Problems of
tackling piracy off the Horn of Africa coastline were discussed
in detail," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Somalia has been without an effective government since the
Revolutionary Socialist Party was overthrown in 1991. The
internationally recognized federal government controls only the
capital city of Mogadishu and part of central Somalia.
Around 20 warships from the navies of at least a dozen
countries, including Russia, are involved in anti-piracy
operations off Somalia. According to the United Nations, Somali
pirates carried out at least 120 attacks on ships in 2008,
resulting in combined ransom payouts of around $150 million.