EU defends Red Sea security mission to safeguard trade route to Asia

Brussels, Feb 2 (EFE).- European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said on Friday that the bloc’s military mission in the Red Sea would be “purely defensive” to safeguard commercial vessels against Houthi attacks on a critical trade route to Asia.

Borrell, the high representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security, stressed that the attacks threatened the EU’s business model, supply security, and freedom of navigation.

The EU Foreign Ministers will approve the mission on Feb. 19, naming it Aspides, which means “shield” in Greek.

“Disruptions to freedom of navigation have consequences that go beyond economic losses. It is not just a matter of some days more or some dollars more. It is about peace and stability,” Borrell said, speaking at the third European Union Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Brussels.

The forum, which saw the participation of over 70 delegations, underscored the mutual interest of both regions in working together to safeguard supply chains, address climate change, promote the green transition, and uphold a rules-based international order.

Describing the Middle East as the most dangerous point currently, Borrell highlighted its impact on global stability and prosperity, referring to it as an “open scar on the Earth.”

He alluded to various crises, including terrorism, political instability, cybercrime, natural disasters, and the conflict in Ukraine, emphasizing their repercussions beyond Europe.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, whose country presides over the EU Council, advocated for the Indo-Pacific region to become a “free and open space” against the threats of piracy and terrorism.

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka expressed the regional desire to be free from militarization and conflicts.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi urged the EU and Indo-Pacific countries, as defenders of international law, to address the atrocities in Gaza.

Borrell assured that the EU would take responsibility for the tragic events in Gaza, aligning with moral foundations. EFE


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