Poland reportedly considering supporting US-led mission to protect tankers off coast of Iran

By bne IntelliNews August 16, 2019

Poland is reportedly considering supporting a US-led mission to protect the passage of ships in the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Iran, but it has not made a formal decision yet.

“From our point of view actions to stabilize this region would be justified,” a spokeswoman at Poland’s foreign ministry told Reuters in a statement on August 16.

“We have to wait to work out whether, and if so, in what form Poland could join such an initiative,” she added.

It’s unclear when Poland, which under the ruling populist Law and Justice (PiS) has been highly supportive of the Trump administration in contrast to the caution shown in Brussels, will make a decision on the matter. Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz first made the comments about possible participation to German news agency dpa on August 16. Poland has in the past offered military support to US-led missions in places including Iraq and Afghanistan. During Donald Trump’s disagreements with Germany, officials in his administration have made references to possibly transferring US troops from Germany to Poland.

The UK has already said it will link up with the US for a maritime security mission that would safeguard the passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz—a chokepoint via which around a fifth of the oil that heads for world markets is shipped, leaving it exposed to fallout from Washington’s standoff with Tehran. The British previously argued for a European mission but changed their approach after Boris Johnson became UK prime minister in July and adopted a foreign policy strategy that includes stepping up the country’s drive to complete Brexit and working more closely with the US.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, meanwhile, has stated that Germany will not take part in a US-led naval initiative in the Strait of Hormuz.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on August 14 that she believed the idea of such a European mission would be discussed again at informal meetings of European foreign and defence ministers in Finland later this month.

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