Denmark backs Britain’s proposed Hormuz naval mission

HMS Montrose (C) accompanies the Stena Important (L) and the Sea Ploeg vessels in the Gulf. (File/ AFP/ MOD)
Updated 26 July 2019

Denmark backs Britain’s proposed Hormuz naval mission

  • Britain has sought to assemble the mission in Hormuz following Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged ship
  • The initiative won initial support from Denmark, France and Italy, three senior diplomats said on Tuesday

COPENHAGEN: Denmark said on Friday it welcomed a British government proposal for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and would consider a military maritime contribution.
Britain has sought to assemble the mission in Hormuz, used by tankers carrying about a fifth of the world’s oil, following Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged ship in what London said was an act of “state piracy.”
The initiative won initial support from Denmark, France and Italy, three senior diplomats said on Tuesday.
“The Danish government looks positively toward a possible contribution to such initiative,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement. “The initiative will have a strong European footprint.”
The backing contrasts with a lukewarm response shown by European allies to a similar American call first voiced at NATO in late June, which was resisted by France and Germany. They worried the US-led military alliance would be dragged into a possible confrontation with Iran.
EU-member Denmark is among the world’s biggest seafaring nations and home to the world’s biggest container shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk, which sails in the high-tension area.
“The Royal Danish Navy is strong and capable and would be able to contribute actively and effectively to this type of engagement,” said Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen.
A final decision would still need to be discussed in parliament.


Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

Updated 10 December 2019

Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

  • The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new PM unraveled
  • Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29

BEIRUT/PARIS: Lebanon does not expect new aid pledges at conference which France is hosting on Wednesday to press for the quick formation of a new government that can tackle an acute financial crisis.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Lebanon to create a new government swiftly or risk the crisis worsening and threatening the country’s stability.
The economic crisis is the worst since the 1975-90 civil war: a liquidity crunch has led banks to enforce capital controls and the Lebanese pound to slump by one third.
Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29, prompted by protests against the ruling elite, with no agreement on a new government.
Nadim Munla, senior adviser to Hariri, who is running the government as caretaker, told Reuters the Paris meeting would probably signal a readiness to offer support once a government is formed that commits to reforms.
“They will recognize that there is a short-term problem and that if and when a government (is formed) that basically responds to the aspirations of people, most probably the international community will be ready to step in and provide support to Lebanon, or additional support,” he said.
“It is not a pledging conference.”
Lebanon won pledges of over $11 billion at a conference last year conditional on reforms that it has failed to implement. The economic crisis is rooted in years of corruption and waste that have generated one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.
The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new prime minister unraveled.
Hariri is now seen as the only candidate for the post.
He has said he would only lead a cabinet of specialist ministers, believing this is the way to address the economic crisis, attract aid, and satisfy protesters who have been in the streets since Oct. 17 seeking the removal of a political class blamed for corruption and misrule.
But Hezbollah and its allies including President Michel Aoun say the government must include politicians.
“Let’s see the coming few days and if there will be an agreement among the political parties on a formation ... otherwise we might take longer,” Munla said. Hariri would be willing to have politicians in cabinet but they should not be “the regular known faces of previous governments.”