July 26, 2019 / 10:42 AM / 22 days ago

Denmark backs Britain's proposed Hormuz naval mission

FILE PHOTO: Jeppe Kofod, leading candidate from The Danish Social Democrats for the European Parliament elections 2019 during the election party at Christiansborg in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 26, 2019. Ritzau Scanpix/Lisolette Sabroe/ via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark said on Friday it welcomed a British government proposal for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and would consider a military maritime contribution.

Britain has sought to assemble the mission in Hormuz, used by tankers carrying about a fifth of the world’s oil, following Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged ship in what London said was an act of “state piracy”.

The initiative won initial support from Denmark, France and Italy, three senior diplomats said on Tuesday.

“The Danish government looks positively towards a possible contribution to such initiative,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said in a statement. “The initiative will have a strong European footprint”.

The backing contrasts with a lukewarm response shown by European allies to a similar American call first voiced at NATO in late June, which was resisted by France and Germany. They worried the U.S.-led military alliance would be dragged into a possible confrontation with Iran.

EU-member Denmark is among the world’s biggest seafaring nations and home to the world’s biggest container shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), which sails in the high-tension area.

“The Royal Danish Navy is strong and capable and would be able to contribute actively and effectively to this type of engagement,” said Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen.

A final decision would still need to be discussed in parliament.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Alison Williams, William Maclean

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