France suspends role in NATO naval mission in Mediterranean

File photo of French Navy sailors stand next to the main gun on the deck of the 'FS Prairial' frigate . EPA/WALLACE WOON

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France has informed NATO that it is suspending its involvement in a naval operation in the Mediterranean after the results of a probe into an incident between French and Turkish warships, an official at the Armed Forces ministry said on Wednesday.

The official said in a letter to NATO’s Secretary-General that France had made four demands to clarify the role of the Sea Guardian operation, including its cooperation with an EU mission that is enforcing a UN arms embargo to Libya.

French newspaper L’Opinion reported on Wednesday that France had sent a letter to NATO informing the alliance of its decision to suspend its role in operation Sea Guardian until it had clarifications.

Ties between NATO allies France and Turkey have soured in recent weeks over Libya, Northern Syria and drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.

France has been especially angry after accusing Turkish warships of being aggressive towards its Courbet warship after it attempted to inspect a vessel in June that it suspected was violating a United Nations arms embargo on Libya. The Courbet was operating in the NATO Sea Guardian operation.

NATO opened an investigation after France protested during an alliance defence ministers meeting in June.

Read more via France 24/AFP

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