A European operation to ensure safe shipping in the Gulf region will get underway next month when a French warship starts patrolling there, a French armed forces spokeswoman said on Thursday.
The French government has pushed for a European security alternative in the Strait of Hormuz after ruling out taking part in a US-led coalition protecting oil tankers and cargo ships from Iran’s threat.
France and others including Germany had feared that joining the US mission would send the wrong message at a time of increased friction between Washington and Tehran.
"The Frigate Courbet will take part in the European maritime security initiative from the start of next year," Reuters quoted Deputy Armed Forces spokeswoman Brigadier General Anne-Cecile Ortemann as saying.
France has said that about 10 European and non-European countries would join its mission, pending parliamentary approvals.