US envoy slams Germany after reluctance on Hormuz mission

Relations between the United States and Germany have soured since US President Donald Trump took office. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 August 2019

US envoy slams Germany after reluctance on Hormuz mission

  • German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ruled out German participation in a planned US-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz
  • Expressing frustration about that decision, Ambassador Richard Grenell said Germany had a duty to fulfil

BERLIN: The US ambassador to Germany launched a scathing attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government on Thursday for its reluctance to join a naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Europe’s biggest economy must assume more global responsibility.
Relations between the United States and Germany have soured since US President Donald Trump took office, due to disagreements on a range of issues from defense spending to trade tariffs, the NordStream 2 gas pipeline and Iran.
On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ruled out German participation in a planned US-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz, close to Iran, after the US said it had made a formal request. He said Germany wanted to ease tensions with Iran and everything should be done to avoid an escalation.
Expressing frustration about that decision, Ambassador Richard Grenell said Germany had a duty to fulfil and told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper:
“Germany is the biggest economic power in Europe. This success brings global responsibilities.”
He said the United States had been trying to get support from Germany for weeks for the military mission in the Strait of Hormuz, and that while one minister spoke of looking at the requests, the foreign minister had rejected it.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had said in Brussels that Germany was “reviewing” the request, striking a softer tone than Maas.
On the front line of the Cold War, West Germany was one of the United States’ closest allies, embraced as a bulwark against Communism after the World War Two defeat of Nazi rule.
“America has sacrificed a lot to help Germany remain part of the West,” Grenell told the newspaper, adding Americans were paying huge sums for 34,000 soldiers to be stationed in Germany.
Grenell has courted controversy since arriving in Berlin last year with his outspoken views and criticism of Germany.
On another issue that has caused friction, a US Senate committee on Wednesday passed a bill to slap sanctions on companies, including several German firms, and individuals involved in building the NordStream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.


Sweden arrests 2 more suspects in Denmark tax office blast

Updated 40 min 35 sec ago

Sweden arrests 2 more suspects in Denmark tax office blast

  • One of the suspects is being sought on an international arrest warrant
  • Authorities said they are confident they will catch the perpetrators

COPENHAGEN: Police in Denmark say their Swedish colleagues have arrested two more people in connection with an early morning explosion that damaged the headquarters of the Danish Tax Agency, slightly injuring a bystander.
The Copenhagen police say the arrest of the two men, aged 22 and 27, bring to three the number of people in custody. A fourth suspect is being sought on an international arrest warrant.
Investigator Brian Belling said in a statement Thursday that police are continuing their investigation, adding, “we are confident that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.”
Police did not immediately link the Aug. 6 tax agency blast to another one, four days later, at a nearby police station, though they said industrial explosives were used in both. No one was injured in the police station explosion.