EU To Launch Mission To Protect Red Sea Shipping

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  • EU foreign ministers will meet in Brussels to formally launch a naval mission to help protect international shipping in the Red Sea.
  • An EU official said that there would be “continuous military to military contact” to coordinate actions with the US and other forces in the region.
  • The accord on the naval mission stands in contrast to the bloc’s trouble fashioning a common stance on the war in Gaza.

EU foreign ministers will meet Monday in Brussels to formally launch a naval mission to help protect international shipping in the Red Sea against attacks from Yemen’s Houthis, reports Arab News.

Attacks in the Red sea

The Houthis have been attacking the vital shipping lane since November in a campaign they say is in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war.

An EU official said Friday that the bloc aims to have the mission — called Aspides, Greek for shield — up and running in a “few weeks” with at least four vessels. So far France, Germany, Italy and Belgium have said they plan to contribute ships.

The overall commander of the mission will be Greek, while the lead officer in operational control at sea will be Italian, the EU official said, AFP reported.

The EU says the mission’s mandate — set initially for one year — is limited to protecting civilian shipping in the Red Sea and that no attacks will be carried out “on Yemeni soil”.

Naval coalition in the Red sea

The United States is already spearheading its own naval coalition in the area and has conducted strikes on the Houthis in Yemen along with Britain.

An EU official said that there would be “continuous military to military contact” to coordinate actions with the US and other forces in the region.

The EU’s 27 countries managed to agree the Red Sea mission in a matter of weeks as concerns mount that the Houthi attacks could damage their economies and push up inflation.

The accord on the naval mission stands in contrast to the bloc’s trouble fashioning a common stance on the war in Gaza.

Countries such as Spain and Ireland have called on Israel to enact an immediate ceasefire while staunch supporters of Israel including Germany have refused to back that demand.

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Source: Arab News