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Joint communication on the European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH)

Rising insecurity and instability have been witnessed in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz in 2019 with multiple maritime and non-maritime incidents as a result of growing regional tensions.

This situation has affected the freedom of navigation and the security of European and non-European vessels and crews in the area. It has also jeopardized trade and energy supplies with potential worldwide economic consequences.

As international presence such as the European-led maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) increased, fewer incidents have occurred over the past months. However, the underlying regional tensions persist, so that the potential for new incidents and the risk of uncontrolled escalation remain. In this regard, there are serious concerns regarding the implications for regional security of the latest international developments. These risks need to be reduced through a continued international presence. Sharing the assessment that the current situation remains unstable in a region critical to trade and global stability, acknowledging the preventive effect of EMASoH presence and supporting the de-escalation approach when it comes to dealing with regional security issues, the Governments of BELGIUM, DENMARK, FRANCE, GERMANY, GREECE, ITALY, THE NETHERLANDS AND PORTUGAL reaffirm their political support to EMASOH, as stated in the Political statement endorsed January 20th 2020

In full accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the mission provides enhanced maritime situation awareness and surveillance through the deployment of additional maritime surveillance assets in the Gulf and Arabian Sea. We are grateful to the UAE for offering to host the mission HQ on their territory. Moreover, EMASoH’s diplomatic track, represented by the EMASoH Senior Civilian Representative, aims at identifying ways to contribute to de-escalation of tensions in the region.

In complementarity with existing maritime security efforts and initiatives in the region, including the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), EMASoH aims to ensure a safe navigation environment and to lower the existing tensions in the region. On the operational side, EMASoH constitutes a useful instrument for increased information sharing amongst all stakeholders including the maritime industry. Consisting of both a military and diplomatic track, EMASoH aims at complementing diplomatic efforts to ensure increased stability and facilitating an inclusive regional dialogue.

This initiative is crucial to enhancing European cooperation and coordination on issues of common interests, including securing European political and economic interests in the region, benefiting the world trade, as well.

We hereby agree to extend EMASoH mandate for the year 2021, underlining that the mission should remain sustainable, including in the provision of capacities. We welcome any contribution in kind to this effort and look forward to further commitments in the coming days.

We also confirm our readiness to gradually enhance cooperation with non-European partners, in particular with those who share our core objectives and have a well-established interest in maritime security in the area, whether through information-sharing activities or through partnerships also entailing in-kind contributions.