Rice consults with counterparts on piracy epidemic

Other News Materials 27 November 2008 03:11 (UTC +04:00)

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday she has been in talks with her counterparts over how to address the growing spate of piracy off the Somali coast, dpa reported.

Rice said the problem has emerged as a critical issue as she leaves office when President George W Bush's term ends January 20, taking note of the long history of piracy by referring to the first man who held her job, from 1789 to 1793.

"Thomas Jefferson came in worried about pirates, it looks like I'm going to leave worried about pirates," Rice said.

Rice said he has been discussing the issue with the Russians and Chinese, as well as with Panama, which has one of the world's largest shipping registries.

Somali pirates have seized dozens of vessels in the Gulf of Aden in recent months, including a Saudi tanker carrying 200 million dollars worth of oil, and a Ukrainian cargo ship carrying tanks and other weapons to Sudan. The pirates then demand ransoms for the return of the ship and its crew.

Jefferson would go on to become the third president of the United States.