The German government is actively pushing for a European Union observer mission to protect shipping in the Gulf, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on a visit to the Polish border on Monday.
‘But it is also foreseeable that it will certainly take some time to convince the EU of this,’ Maas said in Slubice, directly across the border from the German town of Frankfurt an der Oder.
Maas emphasised that the aim was an observer mission. Last week, Germany made clear that it would not participate in a mission led by the United States to safeguard shipping in the key waterway.
Germany does not support the ‘maximum pressure’ strategy on Iran being employed by the United States to force a change in Iranian foreign policy in the Middle East. That policy has led to a sharp deterioration in security in and near the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, where tankers have been detained and attacked.
Earlier on Monday, the German government's trans-Atlantic coordinator backed a leading role for the country in a suggested EU-led mission to protect shipping in the Gulf.
‘Germany should now take a lead role in an EU mission,’ Peter Beyer told the Passauer Neue Presse. ‘We have security interests and responsibility in the region. We have to live up to them.’ He also rejected German participation in any mission led by the United States.
‘If Germany were to participate in a US-led mission, and things should escalate, there would be a great danger of being sucked into a military mission,’ Beyer cautioned.
‘That cannot be in our interest,’ he added.
Germany, along with France and Britain, has been striving to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive after the US withdrew.
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