France says Abu Dhabi to host HQ for European naval mission for the Gulf


ABU DHABI (Information) – A French naval base in Abu Dhabi will function the headquarters for a European-led mission to guard Gulf waters that will likely be operational quickly, France’s protection minister stated on Sunday.

Members of the French Armed Forces march previous the French frigate Courbet whereas participating in a army cermony on the French Naval Base in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates November 24, 2019. Information/Christopher Pike

France is the principle proponent of a plan to construct a European-led maritime power to guarantee protected delivery within the Strait of Hormuz after tanker assaults earlier this yr that Washington blamed on Iran.

Tehran has denied being behind the assaults on tankers and different vessels in main international delivery lanes off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Could and which elevated tensions between america, Iran and Gulf Arab states.

“This morning we formalized that the command publish will likely be primarily based on Emirati territory,” Defence Minister Florence Parly advised reporters at a French naval base in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. 

The command heart will host round a dozen officers representing the nations concerned, she stated. In a speech to French army personnel, she stated the subsequent time she visited the bottom she hoped the mission can be operational and thanked the UAE for supporting it.

The UAE has tempered its response to the assaults and has referred to as for de-escalation and dialogue with Iran.

On Saturday, Parly stated the initiative might begin early subsequent yr and round 10 European and non-European governments would be a part of, pending parliamentary approval.

First introduced in July, the plan is unbiased of a U.S-led maritime initiative which some European nations feared would make U.S.-Iranian tensions worse.

Parly stated the 2 missions would coordinate with the intention to guarantee security of navigation in an already tense space.

“We hope … to contribute to a navigation that’s as protected as attainable in a zone which we all know is disputed and the place there has already been a sure variety of severe incidents,” she stated. She additionally condemned Iran’s newest violations of a 2015 nuclear deal.

On Saturday, Parly stated Paris was sending Saudi Arabia protection gear to confront low-altitude assaults after Riyadh requested assist following a September assault on the dominion’s oil amenities which Washington and Riyadh have additionally blamed on Iran. Tehran has denied involvement.

“We’ve not had an equal request from the UAE,” she stated on Sunday.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Modifying by Mark Potter