EU launches Red Sea naval mission 


The European Union launched a naval mission to the Red Sea “to restore and safeguard freedom of navigation” there, according to Reuters

On the 19th of February, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated “The European Union is responding swiftly to the necessity to restore maritime security and freedom of navigation in a highly strategic maritime corridor”. 

The mission would be active along the main sea lines of communication in the Baab al-Mandab Strait and the Strait of Hormuz, along with international waters in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf. 

The “defensive maritime security operation”, dubbed Eunavfor Aspides, comes after Iranian-aligned Houthi militants started attacking international shipping in the Red Sea in support of the Palestinian militant group Hamas in its war with Israel.

READ: Israel raid frees two hostages held by Hamas 

In early February, Germany sent an air defence frigate to join the mission. Two diplomats Have told Reuters that France and Italy would also contribute. 

Borrell added that “within its defensive mandate, the operation will provide maritime situational awareness, accompany vessels, and protect them against possible multi-domain attacks at sea”. 

EU diplomats previously told Reuters that the operation would initially involve three vessels under EU command as part of the EU’s so-called Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). However, Borrell’s statement did not specify how many vessels would be involved and an EU spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. 



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