Sweden mulls participation in Red Sea naval operations-Xinhua

Sweden mulls participation in Red Sea naval operations

Source: Xinhua| 2024-02-08 21:19:15|Editor: huaxia

STOCKHOLM, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Swedish government is considering participating in two naval operations in the Red Sea, Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billstrom said Thursday.

Sweden plans to join the U.S.-initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian and the EU-led Operation Aspides, Billstrom told Swedish Television after a meeting with the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Defense.

Emphasizing that the operations Sweden wants to partake in are defensive and "not about attacking any ground targets," Billstrom said the main task is to protect commercial ships from the Houthi militia attacks.

The Houthis have launched over 40 attacks since the breakout of the Israel-Hamas conflict last year. They said that they only attacked those Israel-linked or Israel-bound ships to show solidarity with the Palestinians and to press Israel to stop its military actions in Gaza.

Major shipping companies like Maersk, MSC, and CMA CGM have switched to the longer Cape of Good Hope route, slashing daily transits through the Suez Canal by 39 percent and cargo tonnage by 45 percent, UN Conference on Trade and Development data have shown.

Additionally, some car manufacturers have halted production in Europe temporarily due to component shortages caused by the Red Sea crisis.