Australia To Reduce Military Presence In Middle East, Focus On Asia-Pacific - Minister

Australia to Reduce Military Presence in Middle East, Focus on Asia-Pacific - Minister

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 23rd October, 2020) Australia will reduce its naval presence in the middle East, as the changing strategic environment has prompted the government to focus on threats in the Asia-Pacific region, Defense Minister Linda Reyolds said on Friday.

"We now face an increasingly challenging strategic environment which is placing greater demand on ADF resources closer to home. As a result, the Australian Defence Force will reduce its naval presence in the Middle East to enable more resources to be deployed in our region," Reynolds said, as quoted by the ABC news broadcaster.

According to the minister, Australia will no longer send a Royal Australian Navy ship to the Middle East every year.

The last ship deployed to the region returned home in June.

In addition, by late 2020, Australia will also withdraw from the US-led naval coalition patrolling the passage of tankers through the Strait of Hormuz. The broadcaster notes that these moves mean the end of around a 30-year period of Australian maritime operations in the Middle East that mainly focused on counter-terrorism and counter-piracy efforts.

Amid a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and Hormuz Strait last year, the US proposed establishing an international coalition of patrol ships in the area to ensure safe maritime passage.