UK 'had to plead with US to tag along in flotilla challenging Iranian power'
London, Feb 7 (ANI): The United Kingdom was forced to plead with the US to take part in the flotilla challenging Iranian power in the Gulf after American commanders decided the British military had nothing to contribute to the mission, it has emerged.
According to Defence sources the US relented and allowed a Royal Navy frigate to join the mission following an intervention from French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The Royal Navy last month deployed HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate, to the Gulf, amid rising tensions in the region.
The ship accompanied a US carrier strike group made up of an aircraft carrier with a full complement of fighters, a heavy cruiser and several destroyers.
La Motte-Picquet, a French frigate, was also part of the flotilla, which sailed through the Straits of Hormuz, the world's most important oil shipping route.
According to The Telegraph, British ministers initially signalled they would accept the US' conclusion that did not need allies to take part, but they later changed their position after Sazkozy insisted to the US that a French warship must be present in the flotilla.
Sources said that Defence Secretary Philip Hammond concluded that if the French were sending a ship, Britain must do so too.
A diplomatic source revealed that US commanders originally planned for an all-American naval operation, any only relented after protests from European leaders.
"The Americans originally planned to do it alone. They were clear that they saw no military advantage in having European ships taking part," the paper quoted the source, as saying.
"But after the President insisted that France had to be represented, ministers decided that Britain must participate too, regardless of the military importance," the source said.
The source added that after the French intervention, the UK Government 'was basically forced to plead with Washington for the Navy to be allowed to tag along.' (ANI)
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