Australia joins international maritime security construct in the Gulf

August 21, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Morrison Government is reaffirming its commitment to freedom of navigation and safe passage through the Gulf by announcing it will support an international maritime security mission.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

This mission will see the Australian Defence Force work alongside its international partners to assure the security of merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.

Australia’s contribution will include the deployment of:

  • a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019;
  • an Australian Frigate in January 2020 for six months; and
  • ADF personnel to the International Maritime Security Construct headquarters in Bahrain.

The Government has been concerned with incidents involving shipping in the Strait of Hormuz over the past few months.

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Marisa Payne and Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said: “This destabilising behaviour is a threat to Australian interests in the region.

We have been working closely with our allies and partners, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, on this issue, which impacts global security and stability.

Freedom of navigation through international waters is a fundamental right of all states under international law. All states have a right to expect safe passage of their maritime trade consistent with international law.

It is in Australia’s interest to work with international partners to uphold these rights.

Australian forces will always conduct themselves in accordance with their international legal obligations.

This will be an enhancement of our existing and longstanding contribution to counter-piracy and counter-terrorism missions in the waters of the Middle East.

Our contribution will be modest, meaningful and time-limited – and it will be part of an international mission.

Australia will defend our interests wherever they may be under threat. 

Working with partners, we will play our part in shaping a better future for Australia and Australians, as well as our region and the world.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council welcomed the Government’s announcement, stating “As Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rightly noted, it is in Australia’s national interest to protect global laws around freedom of navigation, especially as 15-16 per cent of crude oil, and 25-35 per cent of refined oil destined for Australia travels through the Strait of Hormuz.

This is an important mission because it comes at a time when Iran has been attacking foreign tankers and has been increasing its aggressive moves to gain leverage against the US and push the Europeans into finding a way around US sanctions.  The American sanctions are aimed at pressuring Iran to return to negotiations after the US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, believing the flawed deal enabled Iran to develop nuclear weapons when the sunset clauses expire, while continuing at an even higher level its dangerous ballistic missile program and aggressive support for regional and international terrorism, including its funding and arming of Hezbollah and Hamas. ”

AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein said, “Australia’s prudent and courageous decision to join the US-led coalition to protect ships in the Strait of Hormuz sends a clear message to Iran that its aggressive actions will not be tolerated, and that it is in everyone’s interests –  including Iran’s –  that it return to negotiations with the US to achieve a much better agreement that includes foreclosing the possibility that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapons capability.”

Comments

One Response to “Australia joins international maritime security construct in the Gulf”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    Not much of a coalition with the US, UK Aust and a few small gulf states involved and the Europeans not interested. This could backfire on Australia too.

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