The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has called on the international community to find a solution to the increasing incidents of piracy off the coast of Somalia, which he described as "organised crime".
Sarkozy was speaking at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday after confirming that two French hostages held by pirates were "safe and sound" after being rescued by an elite commando team from this country in the early hours of the morning.
The couple, Jean-Yves Delanne and his wife, Bernadette, were taken hostage by pirates who boarded the yacht they were sailing on September 2 in the Gulf of Aden.
They had demanded a ransom of over $1 million dollars and the release of six men currently in detention in France, who were seized by French commandos in a similar operation back in April after they had been paid to free the crew of another French yacht.
Sarkozy said that the overnight mission had by necessity been a military one to secure the safe release of the couple, and one pirate had been killed and another six captured in a "risky" operation that had taken place in open waters.
"It's a great relief to all of us that this operation was successful and that the couple will be able to be reunited shortly with their family," he said.
"We intend to bring the six pirates to France where they'll be held in detention with the others (from April)," he added.
He also said that the men would only be sent back to Somalia if the government there could guarantee they would be tried and sentenced for their crimes.
Sarkozy also launched an appeal for multi-lateral action to prevent further cases, saying that most acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden actually took place in international waters outside of the jurisdiction of the Somali government. And it was therefore up to the international community to seek a co-ordinated solution.
In this case France had stepped in, he said, because the lives of French citizens were at risk.
Delanne and his wife have lived in Tahiti for years, and he had been hired to sail the yacht "le Carré d'As IV" from Australia to Rochelle in France where it was to be sold.
He's a professional sailor with years of experience and is paid to deliver boats. His wife was accompanying him on the trip.
On September 2 pirates boarded their boat which had been "easy prey" according to the French media, because of its reduced speed
In April a similar commando operation was authorised by Sarkozy to capture six pirates who had seized a luxury boat, "Le Ponant" whose 30 crew also included 22 French nationals.
According to the International Maritime Bureau the waters off the Somali coast are among the most dangerous in the world. There have been 24 attacks by pirates in the first six months of this year.
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