UK navy to es­cort Bri­tish ship­ping in Strait of Hor­muz

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Lon­don, UK - The UK is prepar­ing to de­ploy the Royal Navy to es­cort Bri­tish-flagged com­mer­cial ship­ping through the Strait of Hor­muz fol­low­ing the rapid es­ca­la­tion of ten­sions be­tween Iran and the United States.

The Min­istry of De­fence said on Satur­day that the frigate

HMS Mon­trose and HMS De­fender, a de­stroyer, ‘will re­sume ac­com­pa­ni­ments of UK-flagged com­mer­cial ves­sels’ in the strait.

De­fence Sec­re­tary Ben Wal­lace said, “I have in­structed prepa­ra­tions for HMS Mon­trose and HMS De­fender to re­turn to ac­com­pa­ny­ing du­ties of Red En­sign ship­ping. The gov­ern­ment will take all nec­es­sary steps to pro­tect our ships and cit­i­zens at this time.”

The prac­tice of es­cort­ing ships in the Strait of Hor­muz was stood down in Novem­ber,

af­ter be­ing used dur­ing the fall­out from the seizure of the Bri­tish-flagged Stena Im­pero

tanker by Iran in July.

Bri­tain also urged Iran to ‘do the right thing’ and seize the op

por­tu­nity to come in from the cold by de-es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions with the United States.

For­eign Sec­re­tary Do­minic Raab said a war was in no one’s in­ter­est as he de­scribed Iran’s as­sas­si­nated top gen­eral Qasem Soleimani as a ‘re­gional men­ace’.

“The US will take their own oper­a­tional judg­ment call but they’ve got the right of self de­fence,” Raab told Sky News tele­vi­sion.

Raab said he spoke to Iraq’s Pres­i­dent Barham Saleh on Satur­day and Prime Min­is­ter Adel Ab­del Mahdi on Sun­day.

“We want to see de-es­ca­la­tion, we’re go­ing to do ev­ery­thing we can to pro­tect the UK diplo­matic mis­sions and we’re go­ing about that busi­ness,” he said.

In a state­ment on Twit­ter, Wal­lace said he spoke with his US coun­ter­part Mark Esper on Fri­day.

Wal­lace said US forces had been ‘re­peat­edly at­tacked by Ira­nian-backed mili­tia’ in Iraq dur­ing ‘the last few months’.

‘Gen­eral Soleimani has been at the heart of the use of prox­ies to un­der­mine neigh­bour­ing sov­er­eign na­tions and tar­get Iran’s en­e­mies’, he said.

We’re go­ing to do ev­ery­thing we can to pro­tect the UK mis­sions

Do­minic Raab

(AFP)

This file photo shows an Ira­nian wa­ter tanker sail­ing off the coast of Qeshm Is­land in the Strait of Hor­muz on Fe­bru­ary 14, 2001

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