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The Netherlands Joins EU Naval Mission to Monitor Gulf Waters

The Netherlands Joins EU Naval Mission to Monitor Gulf Waters

Saturday, 30 November, 2019 - 07:00
Oil tankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz, a key passageway for the transport of crude. Reuters file photo
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
The Dutch government announced on Friday that it would contribute a ship to the French-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz amid regional tension with Iran.

The Dutch Defense Ministry said the cabinet has approved the deployment of a frigate for a six-month mission designed to enhance maritime security in the Gulf region, from the end of January to the end of June 2020.

The Dutch government will contribute the frigate with an onboard helicopter to the European-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH).

"It's very important to ensure a free and safe passage" through the strait, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters Friday.

He said The Netherlands is happy to take part in the mission.

“We are not getting involved just for show, but because we want to.”

The Dutch government said it would also send a number of staff to the headquarters of the mission, which France said earlier this week would be stationed at a French naval base in Abu Dhabi.

“Tensions in the Gulf region have risen steadily higher in recent months,” the Defense Ministry said, adding that incidents that disrupt shipping and raise uncertainty have direct consequences for the world economy including for Dutch shippers.

Last week, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said the initiative could start early next year and around 10 European and non-European governments would join, pending parliamentary approvals. She did not name the countries.

France has called for a European security alternative in the Strait of Hormuz after ruling out joining the US-led coalition to protect tankers and cargo ships from Iranian threats.

Denmark, Italy and Spain are among countries that have previously expressed interest in joining the French-led initiative.

It was still uncertain on Friday if Germany would join.

The European-led maritime force is meant to ensure safe shipping in the Strait after tanker attacks earlier this year that the United States blamed on Iran.

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