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West divided? Italy, Spain, France ‘fail’ to even back US-UK action – Times of India

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Italy, Spain and France stood out on Friday by not taking part in US and British strikes against the Houthi group in Yemen and not even signing up to a statement put out by 10 countries justifying the attack. The divergence highlighted divisions in the West over how to deal with the Iranian-backed Houthis, who have been targeting civilian ships in the Red Sea for weeks.
US and British warplanes, ships and submarines launched dozens of air strikes across Yemen overnight. The Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Bahrain provided logistical and intelligence support for the operation, US officials have said. In addition, Germany, Denmark, New Zealand and South Korea signed a joint statement with these six nations defending the attacks and warning of further action to protect the free flow of Red Sea trade if the Houthis did not back down.
A source in PM Giorgia Meloni’s office said Italy had declined to sign the statement, and as a result was not asked to participate in the attack against the Houthis. However, a government source said Italy had been asked to take part, but declined for two reasons – firstly because any Italian involvement would have needed parliamentary approval, which would have taken time, and secondly because Rome preferred to pursue a “calming” policy in the Red Sea.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a French official said Paris feared that by joining the US-led strikes, it would have lost any leverage it had in talks to defuse tensions between Hezbollah and Israel. Spanish defence minister Margarita Robles said Madrid had not joined the military action because it wanted to promote peace in the region. The diverging opinions in the West over how to tackle the Houthi threat emerged last month when the US and a number of its allies launched Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect civilian vessels in the Red Sea shipping lanes. Italy, Spain and France didn’t sign up to the mission. Reuters





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