Today: Tuesday, 5 March 2024 year

Spain will not block the operation to protect ships in the Red Sea.

Spain will not block the operation to protect ships in the Red Sea.

Spain will not block a possible EU operation to protect merchant ships in the Red Sea from attacks by the Iran-backed Houthi movement that rules north-central Yemen, but it has no intention of taking part in it, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said.

“We have more than 3,000 soldiers who are involved in various missions… Of course, we are not going to object to the EU Council starting this new mission. But we do not intend to participate in it, because we believe that we are already present in other international missions and that other countries should lead this mission,” Sanchez said.

RTVE previously reported that Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles said Madrid would not participate in a possible European Union naval mission to protect shipping in the Red Sea from Houthi attacks.

In December 2023, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that the EU naval mission Atalanta did not have the characteristics to carry out an operation to protect the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. For this reason, he proposed the creation of a special mission, within the framework of which Spain would be ready to act.


Earlier, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin announced the launch of the multinational Operation Guardian of Prosperity to protect the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden amid attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on merchant ships.

On Friday night, the United States and Great Britain launched strikes against targets of the Iran-backed Shiite Ansar Allah movement (Houthis) ruling in northern Yemen, calling it a response to threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. A member of Ansar Allah’s supreme political council, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, called it a terrorist barbarity and deliberate and unjustified aggression. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria said the US and UK carried out 73 strikes in Yemen, killing five Houthi fighters and wounding six others.

US President Joe Biden called the strikes on targets in Yemen a response to the threat to freedom of navigation, promising to continue to act without hesitation. He claimed that 27 Houthi attacks had hit commercial ships from more than 50 countries, and on January 9 the movement launched its largest attack against US warships.

The Houthis have previously said that their actions in the Red Sea are aimed only at ships linked to Israel to help Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and do not interfere with freedom of navigation in the region.

Arab and Muslim countries have repeatedly warned the United States that unconditional support for Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip will lead to the spread of the conflict throughout the region.