EU agrees on Yemen ‘mission’ — RT World News

European Union foreign ministers have reached a preliminary agreement to start a naval mission in the Red Sea, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced Monday, after a ministerial meeting in Brussels.

Germany, France and Italy proposed the move in response to requests from the Netherlands, whose commercial shipping has been affected by months-long Houthi attacks on ships linked to Israel.

He added: “We agreed, in principle, to start the European Union mission in the Red Sea.” Borrell said after the meeting, according to the Italian news agency (ANSA). “Now we have to work on consensus on when (it will start).”

Reuters, citing anonymous diplomatic sources in Brussels, reported that the European External Action Service aims to establish the mission by February 19 and begin operations shortly thereafter.

According to an internal document leaked to several media outlets, the mission will include: “At least three” Naval ships. A diplomatic source told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on Sunday that the preferred option is to expand Operation Agenor, the French-led surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz.

Spain has made clear that it will not participate in the mission, but Madrid is not prepared to veto it completely.

The Houthis, who run the western part of Yemen, announced in October that they would intercept any ships linked to Israel in the Red Sea, in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

After the US and UK launched air and missile strikes against the Houthis earlier this month, as part of “Operation Prosperity Guardian”, the group declared that any British or US ships would also be legitimate targets.

The Houthis announced on Monday that they had attacked the merchant ship Ocean Gas, a cargo ship often used by the US military to transport supplies. US Central Command has called this claim “Clearly false” but.

The EU is acting because it wants to be seen to do something, but it appears not to have fully thought through the process, according to Nathalie Tocci, director of the Italian Institute of International Affairs (IAI).

“Let's put this in perspective. The Saudis have been bombing Yemen for ten years. Have they really succeeded in weakening the Houthis' military capabilities? No, they have not.” Tucci told DW on Sunday. Riyadh had opposed fighting the Houthis since 2015, without much success, before agreeing to a ceasefire last year.

“So what makes us think that some kind of naval operation, which is supposed to have a defensive rather than an offensive purpose, would actually deter in any way?” Tucci added.

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