UK to join US for ‘maritime security mission’ in Persian Gulf
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After Iran’s seizure of the UK-registered oil tanker Stena Impero, Jeremy Hunt, then British Foreign Minister, proposed to set up a European naval mission that would have been tasked with ensuring maritime safety in the UK. And there was no question of participation in the international coalition wanted by the United States, given the different approach of Europeans on the Iranian nuclear issue.
The British proposal was well received by its French and German counterparts, namely Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas. But the arrival of Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street, where he succeeded Theresa May, has changed the situation, with the appointment of Dominic Raab – a “brexiter” pure and hard – at the head of the Foreign Office, replacing from Mr. Hunt.
At the same time, the hesitations of the German government coalition over the need to guarantee the freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and the French position of not deploying additional means may have been justified in this European naval mission desired by Jeremy Hunt.
Indeed, this August 5, London has finally announced its intention to join the coalition proposed by Washington.
“The United Kingdom is determined to protect its ships. That’s why we joined the new maritime security mission in the Gulf,” said Ben Wallace, the new UK defense minister. “The deployment of Royal Navy assets is a sign of our commitment to our British-flagged vessels and we look forward to working with the United States and other nations to find an international solution to the problems of the Strait of Hormuz,” he added.
The destroyer HMS Duncan and the HMS Montrose frigate were sent by the Royal Navy to the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz.
For his part, the head of the Foreign Office assured that this decision did not mark a “change of approach vis-à-vis Iran and that Britain remained determined to maintain the agreement on nuclear concluded in 2015 with Tehran in exchange for sanctions relief.”
Australia also said it was considering a request from the United States to join the protection mission for the Strait of Hormuz.
“We are deeply concerned by the increased tension in the region and strongly condemn the attacks on vessels in the Gulf. The US request is serious and complex, so we are looking at it seriously. In the end, as always, we will decide what is in our sovereign interests,” said Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister.