France-initiated European-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz begins

PARIS – France announced on Thursday the start of a European-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz with the aim of ensuring freedom of navigation in the Gulf in addition to promoting de-escalation with Iran. Announced last year, the mission is set to operation through June 2020.

France made efforts to have a European security alternative in the Strait of Hormuz after ruling out joining a US-led coalition to protect oil tankers and cargo ships against what Washington described as “threats from Iran”.

The mission has the explicit political support of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and France. In a public declaration, the eight countries “welcome all the operational contributions already announced by Denmark, France, Greece and the Netherlands in support of this effort and look forward to new commitments in the coming days.”

The French Ministry of Armed Forces said that the frigate Courbet had begun patrolling the Strait of Hormuz. The ministry added that a Dutch frigate will join the French in about two weeks.