Germany to take part in EU Red Sea naval mission – legislator

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) – Germany is expected to participate in a European Union naval mission to protect shipping in the Red Sea that EU foreign ministers will approve this month, the head of the German parliamentary defence committee said.

Speaking at her party’s reception for the new year on Sunday, Maria-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann said the aim of the mission would be for EU frigates to protect commercial vessels passing through the strait.

The approaches to the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, have been all but paralysed by attacks on passing vessels by Iran-backed Houthi forces on the Yemen coast.

“This is an attack on free trade and has to be countered,” Strack-Zimmermann said. Newspaper Welt am Sonntag earlier reported that the German frigate Hessen would set sail for the Red Sea on Feb. 1.

Parliament must approve any foreign deployment of Germany’s armed forces.

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi, writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)