Washington, Aug 22: The US government welcomes the decision of Australia’s new government to send ships to participate in freedom of navigation patrols in the Strait of Hormuz, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. "We heartily welcome Australia’s announcement of its joining freedom of navigation patrols in the Strait of Hormuz as part of the growing International Maritime Security Construct," Pompeo said in a Twitter message on Wednesday. Recently elected Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Canberra’s participation in the US-led coalition earlier on Wednesday.
PM Scott Morrison said that Australia will contribute troops, a surveillance plane and a frigate to protect shipping lanes off the coast of Iran. "This destabilising behaviour is a threat to Australia's interests in the region. The government has decided that it is in Australia's national interest to work with our international partners to contribute. Our contribution will be limited in scope and it will be time-bound', Morrison said at a conference in Canberra.
Australia has joined the United Kingdom and Bahrain in signing onto a US-led maritime security mission that the United States said is aimed at protecting international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The US claims the mission is needed to "combat Iranian aggression" in the strategic waterway, and has been looking for allies for the naval coalition. The United States had also asked France, Norway, Japan, Belgium and South Korea to join the Hormuz coalition but so far none of them have agreed . UNI