11:21 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat moves in the Persian Gulf near an oil tanker (File)

    Belgium to Consider Invitation to US-Proposed Coalition in Strait of Hormuz - Lawmaker

    © AP Photo / Vahid Salemi
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The Belgian parliament may consider in the near future its invitation to join the US-pushed international coalition that would aim to protect navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, Peter Buysrogge, a Belgian lawmaker, said on Wednesday.

    "The [Belgian] parliament is currently deciding on the matter," Buysrogge tweeted.

    US State Secretary Mike Pompeo announced last week that the United States was seeking to form an international coalition to secure the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway that connects the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. On Tuesday, Washington asked Belgium to participate in the coalition.

    Last week, the United States invited Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, South Korea and the United Kingdom, among others, to join the coalition, saying that all parties involved would be protecting not only their own interests but the "fundamental understanding of free and open waterways."

    Oil supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of being carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria is seen near Gibraltar, Spain July 4, 2019
    © REUTERS / Stringer
    Oil supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of being carrying Iranian crude oil to Syria is seen near Gibraltar, Spain July 4, 2019

    Tensions in the Gulf waters escalated in June following several isolated attacks involving oil tankers. The United States has claimed that Iran was behind the incidents, while Tehran has denied any wrongdoing. Iran subsequently shot down a US surveillance drone over the coastal Hormozgan area, prompting threats from the United States.

    The situation worsened after an Iranian vessel was seized by Gibraltar over suspicions of shipping oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. The move has been slammed by Tehran, while Madrid has said the tanker was captured at the request of the United States.

    On 19 July, Iranian forces seized a tanker and its 23-person crew in the Strait of Hormuz over alleged violations of international navigation norms.

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