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US ‘very confident’ it can build maritime coalition in Persian Gulf

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers remarks at the The Claremont Institute's 40th Anniversary Gala in Beverly Hills, California, on May 11, 2019. (State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on August 4 that he was “very confident” the United States would be able to build a maritime security coalition in the Persian Gulf, but he didn’t provide details on which nations may be willing to participate.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he has gotten a good response from allies and some announcements could be expected soon.

Pompeo and Esper were speaking on August 4 alongside their Australian counterparts in Sydney.

Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said her country is giving the U.S. request serious consideration, but no decision has been made.

The plan, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, has so far attracted few commitments from other nations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government said on July 31 that Germany is “reluctant” to join the proposed U.S.-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz but would consider participating in a European naval mission.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said on July 31 that Germany will not take part in the American initiative.

London last week ordered its navy to escort British-flagged vessels in the strait in response to Iran’s decision to seize a British tanker in the Persian Gulf.

The move came days after Britain seized an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar over suspicions it violated EU sanctions.