Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday announced steps the Obama administration will take to help combat piracy off the Horn of Africa.
Here is a summary of what the State Department will do:
* Send an envoy to the Somali donors conference set for April 23 in Brussels. The envoy will work with US partners on ways to improve the situation in Somalia.
* Call for immediate meetings with US partners in the Contact Group on Piracy Off the Coast of Somalia to coordinate an expanded multinational response. Specifically:
* Work to forge a renewed determination that states take responsibility for prosecuting and imprisoning captured pirates.
* Develop strategies to secure the release of ships and crews now held by Somali pirates.
* Explore ways to track and freeze pirate assets.
* Reiterate to everyone the US policy of making no concessions or ransom payments to hostage takers.
* Organize meetings with Somali government officials from the Transitional Federal Government as well as regional leaders in Puntland and elsewhere.
* Press authorities within Somalia to take action against pirates operating from bases within their territory.
* Work with shippers and the insurance industry to address gaps in their self-defense measures.