Spain’s position on participation in a mission in the Red Sea

In recent days, tension has been generated between Spain and the United States due to the latter’s proposal to expand Operation Atalanta in the Red Sea. The Spanish government, headed by Pedro Sanchez, has made clear its firm rejection to participate in this mission without the intervention of NATO or the European Union.

Through official statements and communiqués, President Sanchez has explained in detail the reasons behind this position.

Nature of Operation Atalanta and its relation to piracy

Operation Atalanta was created in 2008 with the aim of combating piracy off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. Since then, it has played a key role in protecting commercial vessels and maritime security in that region.

However, Pedro Sanchez has made it clear that this mission does not have the characteristics or the nature necessary to address the crisis in the Red Sea.

Pedro Sanchez has stressed that Operation Atalanta is focused on combating a particular phenomenon, piracy, which has nothing to do with the situation in the Red Sea. This region, through which approximately 10% of the world’s trade flows, is threatened by attacks by Yemen’s Huthi militia in response to Israel’s offensive in Gaza and the West Bank.

The complexity and risk associated with this situation is different from that faced by Operation Atalanta in the Indian Ocean.

The need for a specific mission in the Red Sea

Spain, through the Ministry of Defense led by Margarita Robles, has made it clear that in order to effectively address maritime security in the Red Sea it is necessary to establish a specific mission, with its own objectives and adequate means.

This mission should be agreed by the corresponding bodies of the European Union and count on the participation of the naval forces of the European countries concerned.

According to the Spanish Government, a mere extension of Operation Atalanta would not meet the necessary requirements to guarantee maritime security in the Red Sea. Therefore, it has insisted on the importance of establishing a new mission that fits the specific needs and challenges of this strategic region.

Spain’s commitment to NATO and the EU

Pedro Sánchez has reaffirmed Spain’s commitment to NATO and the European Union in terms of military peacekeeping missions. Spain is the EU country that participates in the most operations of this type, with more than 3,000 soldiers currently deployed.

The President has stressed that Spain’s commitment to peace is absolute and total, but has also made it clear that the framework of Operation Atalanta does not fit the situation in the Red Sea.

Spain’s government has emphasized that its position does not imply a veto to the deployment in the Red Sea, but that a specific mission agreed by the EU and with its own entity is required. Spain is willing to participate in a mission in the Red Sea in the framework of NATO or the European Union, but considers that Operation Atalanta is not the appropriate response to the challenges in this region.

Conclusions

In summary, Spain remains firm in its refusal to participate in a mission in the Red Sea without the intervention of NATO or the European Union. The Spanish Government considers that Operation Atalanta, created to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, does not have the characteristics or the nature necessary to guarantee maritime security in the Red Sea.

It advocates the establishment of a specific mission, agreed by the EU and with its own objectives, with the participation of the European countries concerned. Spain’s commitment to peace and security, both in the framework of NATO and the EU, is absolute and total.