USS Boxer and other American Navy ships travel through Strait of Hormuz 180719 CREDIT US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
World

US And France Defence Chiefs Discuss Gulf Tensions

France had previously ruled out joining a US-led coalition in the Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran.

USS Boxer and other American Navy ships travel through Strait of Hormuz 180719 CREDIT US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

The US has deployed extra military assets to the Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Defence chiefs from the US and France have discussed tensions in the Gulf and have "agreed to continue to work alongside each other to ensure freedom of navigation in contested waters". 

It comes after a senior US defence official told reporters on Friday that the two nations would discuss how the French navy could work alongside the US in the Strait of Hormuz. 

The Strait is one of the world's most strategic waterways with around 17 million barrels of oil passing through it every day.

The 20-mile stretch of water has recently been at the centre of controversy with Iran being accused of attacking oil tankers, including the seizure of a British-flagged ship.

The UK has now joined a US-led coalition of nations protecting ships travelling through the Strait of Hormuz. 

HMS Montrose escorts two ships through Strait of Hormuz (Picture: Royal Navy).
The Royal Navy's HMS Montrose escorts two British-flagged tankers through the Strait of Hormuz (Picture: Royal Navy).

France previously ruled out joining the coalition but tensions in the region were discussed by the US and French defence secretaries, Mark Esper and Florence Parly, during talks in Paris. 

In a statement, Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said: "The leaders discussed a broad range of defence issues, including the threat from China and Russia, the situation in the Persian Gulf and Syria, the cooperation of our armed forces, and ongoing efforts to work together to enhance global security.

"Esper and Parly agreed to continue to work alongside each other to ensure freedom of navigation in contested waters and address destabilising activities that threaten the rules-based international order."

Mr Esper's visit to Paris comes a day after he met with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in London.

He said the US was still hoping to guide Iran on "a diplomatic path" and that the two countries are "inching" towards talks.

He also praised the "incredible bond" between the British and American militaries.