EU states express interest in British plans for Gulf mission

BRUSSELS (dpa)- Several EU member states have expressed interest in a British proposal for a European-led maritime security mission to ensure safe travel of cargo through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, sources in Brussels said on Thursday.
"We are engaging our partners around the world, including within the EU," a British diplomat said. "EU partners have expressed interest in our proposal," the diplomat added, without naming countries.

According to diplomatic sources in Brussels, countries including Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have expressed interest. France is also thought to be in favour, although Paris has different ideas on the details.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the plan to parliament in London on Monday. It comes just days after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker and its 23 crew members in the strait, in an incident he described as "an act of state piracy."
Vessels registered under other nations have also come under threat, and earlier this month the United States said it was attempting to put together a coalition of countries to protect commercial shipping in the Gulf.
The British initiative is seen as separate, however.
Iran's seizure of the British-flagged Stena Impero came after British Royal Marines helped capture an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar in early July. London said it believed the vessel was transporting oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.
Tensions with Iran have mounted in recent months, as Tehran has begun breaching a nuclear deal struck with global partners in 2015, in return for Washington's withdrawal from the accord and its reimposition of painful economic sanctions.

Thursday, July 25th 2019

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