European monitoring mission in the Gulf takes shape

The French Armed Forces Minister, Florence Parly, announced that the command post of this mission will be installed in the naval naval base of Abu Dhabi.

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Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 24 November.
Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly at the French naval base in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 24 November. CHRISTOPHER PIKE / REUTERS

The European maritime surveillance mission in the Arab-Persian Gulf, which France has taken the initiative in response to rising tensions in this region, is beginning to take shape. Sunday, November 24, the French Minister of Armies, Florence Parly, announced that his command post will be installed in the naval base in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), country where 700 French soldiers are stationed. The mission should include a dozen countries, European and non-European, in order to "To help make shipping in the Gulf as safe as possible"said the minister, during a ceremony held in the city-state, for the ten years of the base. On Saturday night, she met with Mohamed Ben Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and actually ruled UAE.

A strategic maritime corridor, through which one fifth of the world's consumption of black gold passes, the Gulf has witnessed serious security incidents during the spring and summer, including several tanker sabotages, which have been attributed to Iran. . On 14 September, an attack by drones and missiles, also attributed to Tehran, damaged two sites of the Saudi oil company Aramco, temporarily depriving the kingdom of 60% of its production.

The date on which the European monitoring system becomes operational is not known. The fact that several countries wishing to participate must first obtain the approval of their parliament slows the implementation of the French project. From the archipelago of Bahrain, where she participated Saturday at the Manama Dialogue, a military-security conference organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Florence Parly said that the mission would come into action " soon ".

The Minister also emphasized that this initiative would be "Distinct" of the US Gulf-based maritime traffic protection operation, with the help of Great Britain. On the Iranian issue, Paris intends to keep its distance from Washington, a supporter of a strategy of maximum pressure, based on economic sanctions, which put on the knee oil industry of the Islamic Republic. "France speaks to everyone and that includes Iran"said Ms. Parly.

Iranian ship surveillance

The device developed by Paris should mainly consist of intelligence gathering and surveillance of Iranian vessels operating in the Gulf. Concerned not to offend the American ally, Florence Parly nevertheless specified that the European mission would be "Completely coordinated" with the United States.


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