Belgium to send military ship to Red Sea as part of European operation
Belgium decided on Friday to take part in the European mission in the Red Sea. The country will send a military ship to the region, writes VRT NWS. As it holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, it will also press Israel and Hamas for a new ceasefire.
On Thursday, the government parties were sharply divided on the issue. Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib, from the liberal faction, said it was Belgium's "duty to take part in an operation at European level".
Left-wing parties, meanwhile, want the country to do more to protect Palestinians, including supporting South Africa's case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is investigating whether Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.
But the divided parties managed to reach an agreement on Friday. Belgium will send one of its two frigates, the Louise-Marie, to the Red Sea to protect container ships. It will not actively attack the Houthi rebels, writes VRT.
Government sources also confirmed to Belga that, as a concession to the left-wing parties, Belgium will increase pressure on Israel and Hamas to start a new ceasefire so that aid can be delivered to Gaza. The government has also reaffirmed its confidence in the ICJ and will support its conclusions and monitor their implementation.
A press conference on the decision will be held at 14:00 local time.
The Louise Marie. © BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER