The European Union and Kenya agreed Friday to allow the country to prosecute suspected pirates captured by European forces on the high seas.
The European Union and Kenya agreed Friday to allow the country to prosecute suspected pirates captured by European forces on the high seas, an EU spokesman said. German Ministry spokesman Jens Ploetner in Berlin said the agreement signed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, came after two months of "intensive talks. "In practical terms it means that the pirates can be put on the territory of Kenya, to the jurisdiction of Kenya to be judged," spokesman Jesus Carmona said.
The Somali coastline is plagued by pirates, who attacked over 100 ships last year.
The United States and Britain have signed a similar agreement with Kenya, which borders Somalia, allowing suspected pirates to be handed over and tried in Kenyan courts.
Kenya's Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula did not comment on the EU agreement, saying only, "That deal is closed."
A German navy frigate in the Gulf of Aden captured nine pirates earlier this week after they attacked a Hamburg-based cargo ship. They are being held on the ship under international law as part of the EU's ongoing "Atalanta" anti-piracy mission.
Hamburg prosecutors have launched an investigation against the nine, but there are fears that if they are brought to Germany they could be eligible for asylum.
The capture of a Ukrainian vessel loaded with arms focused international attention on the piracy problem and countries as diverse as India, America, China, France and Germany sent warships to patrol the Gulf of Aden, which is one of the world's most important shipping lanes.
The naval presence is having some effect; the pirates' success rate at taking over a vessel has fallen from nearly 50 percent to around 30 percent. But attacks on commercial shipping have continued despite the patrols and some arrests.