EU plans ‘purely defensive’ Red Sea mission

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BRUSSELS — The European Union mission to protect commercial vessels from Iran-backed Houthi rebel attacks in the Red Sea will be “purely defensive,” and will not conduct “any kind of attack,” the EU’s foreign policy chief said today.

Seeking to differentiate the EU plan from the ongoing American-British Operation Prosperity Guardian, in which air strikes have been conducted against Houthi targets located in Yemen, Josep Borrell insisted that the future EU mission will focus only on protecting commercial vessels and their assets.

The mission “is a shield; it’s purely defensive,” said Borrell. “Our purpose is not to conduct any kind of attack, but just to defend.”

“It will be deployed at sea … [and] will not conduct any operation on land,” he added at a speech at the EU-Indo Pacific forum.

The EU’s mission is yet to be given final approval, pending a meeting of foreign ministers on February 19.



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