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AFP
July 11, 2019

‘US wants coalition to protect Gulf waters’

World

AFP
July 11, 2019

WASHINGTON: The US aims to form a coalition to guarantee freedom of navigation in strategic Gulf waters amid fraught relations between Washington and Tehran, a top general told media on Tuesday.

Tensions in the area, through which nearly a third of the world´s oil is transported, have spiked in recent weeks, with the US blaming Iran for multiple attacks on tanker ships in the region, and Tehran shooting down an American drone.

"We´re engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab," General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a video carried by the Reuters news agency.

"I think probably over the next couple weeks we´ll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we´ll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that´ll support that," Dunford said. The US would provide "maritime domain awareness and surveillance," while ships would be escorted by the nations whose flag they carry, the general said.

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