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G7 and EU Take Action to Safeguard Red Sea Shipping

G7 Convenes to Address Red Sea Crisis

The transport ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) countries, including Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Canada, are set to convene in an online meeting to deliberate on the ongoing Red Sea shipping crisis and its repercussions on global shipping. The meeting, scheduled for 12 o’clock GMT on Tuesday, will also involve the European Union (EU), the International Maritime Organization, and the International Transport Forum.

EU Launches “Eunavfor Aspides” Operation

In response to the crisis, the EU initiated a “defensive maritime security operation” named “Eunavfor Aspides” in the Red Sea. The operation aims to “restore and maintain freedom of navigation,” countering the attacks on international shipping by Iran-backed Houthi militants. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell emphasized the EU’s commitment to restoring security and freedom of navigation in these strategic sea lanes.

Mission Details and Participation

The operation will provide maritime domain situational awareness, escort ships, and protect them from potential multi-domain attacks at sea. While the exact number of ships involved in the operation remains unspecified, it has been revealed that the operation will initially involve three ships commanded by the EU as part of its “Common Security and Defense Policy” (CSDP). Germany has already dispatched an anti-aircraft frigate to join the mission, with France and Italy also expected to participate.

Operation Area and Recent Developments

The mission will operate along the main sea lines of communication in the Strait of Bab el-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, as well as in the international waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon reported that U.S. troops patrolling the Red Sea successfully conducted five self-defense attacks as part of a series of operations against the Houthi armed forces.

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International Reactions and Expectations

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly, in a recent interview, urged China to play a role in maintaining the safety of commercial shipping in the Red Sea. She emphasized that Beijing needed to “help influence the Houthis to keep the Red Sea open,” considering the risk posed to Chinese cargo ships. However, at a United Nations Security Council meeting, Russia and China accused the United States and Britain of illegally attacking a military base used by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

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