MOSCOW - The Council of the European Union on Monday agreed to extend by two years its anti-piracy assistance mission in Somalia and pledged $75 million in funding for the project.

"The Council extended the mandate of the EU capacity building mission in Somalia, EUCAP Somalia, until 31 December 2020. The Council also agreed on a budget of €66.1 million for the period 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2020," the Council said in a statement.

The mission, which was launched over six years ago in response to piracy off the Horn of Africa, aims to enhance the east African nation’s maritime civilian law enforcement by supporting authorities in their efforts to draft legislation.

, bolstering criminal justice and providing equipment and training.

Somalia has been plagued by civil war since 1991. Years of lawlessness and corruption have provided pirates with ample opportunities, hijacking international ships for ransom with relative impunity.