Netherlands willing to send navy ship to Strait of Hormuz, but only in EU context

Dutch frigate Zr.Ms. Van Speijk
Dutch frigate Zr.Ms. Van SpeijkPhoto: hh oldman/Wikimedia Commons

The Netherlands is willing to send a naval ship to the Strait of Hormuz near Iran to protect oil tankers against attacks, as the United States requested, but only if this happens in a European context, the Telegraaf reports based on sources in The Hague. 

The government hopes that approaching the mission from a European context will avoid two problems, according to the newspaper. Firstly, it prevents the Netherlands getting caught up in a conflict between America and Iran, and secondly it shows that the European Union is not at odds with Iran. It also makes the mission acceptable to the coalition - the D66 in particular had reservations about joining a mission under American leadership. 

The United States asked allies to send military support to the economically important shipping route between Iran and the Emirates during a meeting of NATO ministers at the end of June. But the allies, including the Netherlands, hesitated to volunteer. 

According to the newspaper, the Dutch government recognizes the need to protect the Strait, especially since around 20 percent of the world's oil is transported through this sea passage. And while Dutch merchant ships don't use the Strait on a large scale, the Dutch Navy is well equipped for this kind of mission

The Strait of Hormuz and a mission in European context will be discussed next week at a meeting of the European Foreign- and Defense Ministers.