Home » EU naval mission: Italy, France seek Arab involvement in Red Sea

EU naval mission: Italy, France seek Arab involvement in Red Sea

Defence Ministers Crosetto and Lecornu discussed plans to bolster a European mission in the area as a response to Houthi threats, aiming to include non-EU countries in the initiative. They also emphasised importance of humanitarian efforts in war-torn Gaza

Rome and Paris look to boost Red Sea efforts. On Tuesday, the Italian and French Defence Ministers Guido Crosetto and Sebastien Lecornu touched base in a video conference on the Middle Eastern crises. They express the desire to promptly boost a European mission that could involve non-EU countries sharing the importance of free navigation, requesting the participation of countries “whose trade routes are endangered by Houthi terrorist attacks.”

  • On the same day, the member states of the European Union gave preliminary approval for a naval mission aimed at protecting ships from attacks by the Iran-backed militia.
  • The objective is to establish the mission before February 19 and to make it operational soon afterwards. Some EU governments, including the Italian government, will need to involve their parliaments in the process.

Expanding to the Middle East? It’s not clear yet which countries would take part in the expanded mission, but it’s possible they might include Arab countries – some of which Italy is already cooperating with on the Gaza humanitarian front, and which might find it easier to participate in European maritime security activities than take part in United-States efforts.

Gaza remains in focus. While discussing the situation in the Gaza Strip, the two ministers mainly spoke of their countries’ ongoing medical support to the wounded civilians in Gaza, many of whom are children, and emphasised the quality of cooperation with the Egyptian authorities and the work their respective medical teams are carrying out aboard Italy’s Vulcan and France’s Dixmude ships, docked in the Egyptian port of El Arish.

  • They also called for more investment from European states to expand this effort.

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