Merkel: European ministers to discuss Strait of Hormuz naval mission

Helicopters aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer in the Strait of Hormuz. The US has called for a coalition to protect shipping in the region. (US Navy via Reuters)
Updated 14 August 2019

Merkel: European ministers to discuss Strait of Hormuz naval mission

  • Britain last week joined the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf
  • EU foreign ministers and defense ministers are due to hold informal meetings in Helsinki in late August

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday she believed the idea of a European naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz would be discussed again at informal meetings of European foreign and defense ministers in Finland later this month.
“I think the question of a European mission will be discussed there again because this discussion has not yet taken place everywhere and so I believe that the Finnish presidency will play a coordinating role on that,” Merkel told a news conference after meeting visiting Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.
EU foreign ministers and defense ministers are due to hold informal meetings in Helsinki in late August. Finland took over the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1.
Britain last week joined the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel. Two weeks beforehand, Britain had called for a European-led naval mission.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that Germany will not join a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz and that it favors a European mission but he has also warned it was rather difficult to make progress on that.


Lebanese troops move in to open roads closed by protesters

Updated 49 min 59 sec ago

Lebanese troops move in to open roads closed by protesters

  • Troops managed to briefly open up the
  • Protesters denounced Hariri’s package as empty promises

BEIRUT: Lebanese troops have moved in to open several major roads in Beirut and other cities, scuffling in some places with anti-government protesters who had blocked the streets for the past week.
Thousands of troops deployed in Beirut and its suburbs, and in the southern cities of Sidon and Tyre to clear the roads on Wednesday.
Beirut’s northern suburb of Zouk Mosbeh witnessed scuffles between protesters and troops who managed to briefly open the main highway to the capital before it was blocked again.
Nationwide demonstrations that began last week grew larger on Monday, after Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced a package of economic reforms the government hopes would help revived the struggling economy.
The protesters have denounced Hariri’s package as empty promises and are demanding the resignation of his Cabinet.