The US's top general says a military coalition will patrol waters around Iran and Yemen

FILE - In this May 1, 2019, file photo, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford testifies during a House Appropriations subcommittee on budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dunford says Washington will move ahead with plans to build a coalition of nations to monitor and deter Iranian threats against shipping in the Persian Gulf and in a heavy trafficked waterway between the Arabia Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)FILE - In this May 1, 2019, file photo, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford testifies during a House Appropriations subcommittee on budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dunford says Washington will move ahead with plans to build a coalition of nations to monitor and deter Iranian threats against shipping in the Persian Gulf and in a heavy trafficked waterway between the Arabia Peninsula and the Horn of Africa. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)Associated Press

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said Tuesday the US aimed to build a military coalition to patrol the waters off Iran and Yemen.
  • "I think probably over the next couple of weeks we'll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative," Dunford said.
  • Partner countries would be responsible for escorting ships in the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The US has hammered out a plan under which an international military coalition would safeguard strategic waters off both Iran and Yemen, where Washington blames Iran and Iran-backed fighters for attacks, the top US general said on Tuesday.

"We're engaging now with a number of countries to see if we can put together a coalition that would ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab," said Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"And so I think probably over the next couple of weeks we'll identify which nations have the political will to support that initiative and then we'll work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities that'll support that," he said.

Partner countries would be responsible for patrolling the waters and escorting commercial vessels bearing their flags, the BBC reported However, Dunford said the US would lead surveillance efforts and provide "command and control" ships for the mission.

(Reporting for Reuters by Phil Stewart; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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