New Zealand rejects UK request for joining US IMSC in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN, Aug. 21 (MNA) – Rejecting UK' offer to join the US-led mission, known as the international maritime security construct (IMSC), New Zealand's Defense Minister Ron Mark announced Wednesday that his country has no boats to send to Strait of Hormuz.

"Britain asked New Zealand whether it could help patrol the Strait of Hormuz following the seizure of oil tankers by Iran, but we didn't have any boats to send," the Minister of Defense says.

New Zealand's Defense Minister, Ron Mark, says while no formal request for assistance was made, Britain approached New Zealand about whether it had any capacity to help.

However, as reported, Australia has announced readiness for being a member of the American coalition.

The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced on Wednesday that Australia would send forces to the region.

The Australian Defense minister, Linda Reynolds, said the Royal Australian Air Force would send a P-8A poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to the region for one month before the end of 2019, while an Australian frigate would be present for six months from January.

Australian defense force members will join the IMSC taskfore based in Bahrain, which hosts the US navy’s central command and fifth fleet.

The United Kingdom and Bahrain are the only other countries to join the US in the Strait of Hormuz, but the UK has appealed to European allies to join the mission to safeguard shipping lanes.

Key Washington allies Germany and Japan have refused to join, and France has expressed reservations about the US’ provocative initiative.

On August 6, Israeli regime’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that they will be part of the US-led anti-Iran coalition. Iran reacted to the announcement, warning that Washington and Tel Aviv would be responsible for the consequences of such a decision.

On August 13, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Al Jazeera "we believe that the best the US can do for the protection of maritime navigation is to just leave people alone; don't interfere," underscoring that the US naval build-up and presence in the Persian Gulf could destabilize the entire region. 

MNA/PR

News Code 149129

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