August 14, 2019 / 12:56 PM / 8 days ago

Merkel: European mission in Strait of Hormuz likely to be discussed in Finland

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Germany's new Defence Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, at the provisionally plenary hall of the German lower house of Parliament Bundestag at the Paul Loebe Haus in Berlin, Germany July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday she believed the idea of a European naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz would be discussed again at informal meetings of European foreign and defense ministers in Finland later this month.

“I think the question of a European mission will be discussed there again because this discussion has not yet taken place everywhere and so I believe that the Finnish presidency will play a coordinating role on that,” Merkel told a news conference after meeting visiting Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

EU foreign ministers and defense ministers are due to hold informal meetings in Helsinki in late August. Finland took over the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1.

Britain last week joined the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran seized a British-flagged vessel. Two weeks beforehand, Britain had called for a European-led naval mission.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that Germany will not join a U.S.-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz and that it favors a European mission but he has also warned it was rather difficult to make progress on that.

Reporting by Michelle Martin and Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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