US military offers aid in blocked Suez Canal

US military offers aid in blocked Suez Canal

Washington (AFP)

The United States said on Friday it was ready to help Egypt attempt to dislodge the massive container ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal since Tuesday, with a team of U.S. Navy experts who could be deployed. quickly on request.

“As part of our active diplomatic dialogue with Egypt, we have offered US assistance to the Egyptian authorities to help them reopen the canal,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

“We are consulting our Egyptian partners on how best to support their efforts,” she said, calling the consultations “ongoing”.

Navy Captain Bill Urban, spokesperson for the US Central Command, which operates across the Middle East, said he was ready to act on demand.

“We have offered and are ready to help Egypt, and we will seek to support any specific request we receive,” he said in a statement.

“We are continuing to monitor and assess the situation, but we have nothing to provide on potential specific support at this time. ”

One of the main missions of the US Central Command in the region is to protect the traffic of commercial vessels.

According to a US defense official who insisted on remaining anonymous, Washington offered to send a team of Navy experts to help.

If Egypt makes a formal request, the team can be en route Saturday from Bahrain, the regional base of the US 5th Fleet.

So far, the official said, there has been no approval for such a move.

The US military can also provide support and advice to ships that, prevented from using the canal, opt for the long voyage around the southern tip of Africa, which could take them through the waters threatened by pirates. .

“We can certainly do advice, but we can’t escort them all,” the official said.


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