Eight European Union member states have given their support for a European-led maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic route for world oil supplies.
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal backed the new force, they said in a "political statement" issued by France's Foreign Ministry on January 20.
The move comes amid "rising insecurity and instability" in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz last year, the statement said, citing "multiple maritime and nonmaritime incidents."
"This situation has been affecting the freedom of navigation and the security of European and non-European vessels and crews in the area for months. It has also been jeopardizing trade and energy supplies with potential worldwide economic consequences," it said.
France, Denmark, Greece, and the Netherlands have already confirmed they will contribute to the so-called EMASOH mission, which is to be based at a French naval facility in the United Arab Emirates.
Amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington and U.S. allies in the region, the United States in November launched its own operation alongside allies to protect shipping in the gulf.