The United States strongly condemned the killing of four U.S. citizens by Somali pirates off East Africa and urged the world to strive to bring maritime criminals to justice.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the act "deplorable." She said in a statement that the killings underscored the need for international cooperation on fighting the scourge of piracy in waters off the Horn of Africa.
The four were the first Americans killed in a wave of pirate attacks in recent years.
Clinton expressed her sympathies for the victims' families.
She urged international partners to provide material, financial and logistical support to an African peacekeeping mission in Somalia, the country the pirates use as the launching point of their attacks.