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DJIBOUTI (Kyodo) Djibouti Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita has pledged support for Japan’s antipiracy mission in the waters off neighboring Somalia.

“Japan should be praised for beginning antipiracy operations off Somalia in cooperation with the international community,” Dileita said Friday.

Piracy in the area is having “severe repercussions on the international community” as ships have been forced to avoid the waters off Somalia and to sail via South Africa, he said in an interview, speaking in French.

Japan and Djibouti have reached a status of forces agreement stipulating the terms of operations and legal status of the Self-Defense Forces and related officials who will be based in the African nation during the antipiracy mission.

Two Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers engaged in the antipiracy mission will make their first port calls at Djibouti port this week.

Dileita said Djibouti hopes that neighboring Somalia will not continue to be plagued by instability, which is blamed for the piracy activities off its coast, and asked Japan to cooperate with the United Nations in helping Somalia achieve political stability.

He said the deployment of military forces around Djibouti by many countries is not a threat to his country but rather contributes to its security.

“Djibouti is surrounded by countries with unstable political conditions. The most important thing for us is the maintenance of security,” he said.

Japan has joined antipiracy operations off Somalia involving more than a dozen countries.

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