BERLIN: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that Germany will not be part of the US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz.
The German Foreign Minister statement has prompted a frustrated response from Washington’s ambassador to Berlin.
Maas told reporters in Poland that “Germany will not take part in the sea mission presented and planned by the United States,” adding the situation in the Gulf, where tensions have been rising between the US and Iran, was very serious and that everything should be done to avoid an escalation.
The US had formally requested earlier in the week that Germany and other European allies take part in the naval mission, which it said was needed to protect shipping routes in the strategic passageway through which about 20 percent of the world’s oil passes and to “combat Iranian aggression”.
The decision to not join the mission was motivated by Berlin’s belief that the US strategy of exercising “maximum pressure” against Iran was “wrong”, Maas, a Social Democrat, said.
One of the main obstacles to any German involvement in a military operation in the Gulf is opposition by the Social Democrats, the junior partners in a ruling coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
Expressing frustration about Maas’ announcement, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell spoke to the Augsburger Allgemeine about Washington’s attempts over the past weeks to get Merkel’s government to join the mission.
“Germany is the biggest economic power in Europe, this success brings global responsibilities,” Grenell told the newspaper on Thursday.