Greece is prepared to take a more active role in safeguarding navigation in the Red Sea against Iranian-backed Houthi rebel attacks if called upon, the Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs, Christos Stylianides said on Tuesday.

Stylianides noted that Greece is closely aligned with the initiative launched by the United States which involves ten countries protecting free navigation in the Gulf of Aden.

“If needed and summoned, we will participate more actively. We are very close to participating in the initiative with a leading role because Greece is a key player in shipping,” added the Greek Minister.

Stylianides did not rule out the country’s involvement with a military vessel, stating, “We are discussing it. If you ask me, I am in favor,” and he recalled Greece’s participation in Operation Atalanta, which protected commercial ships from Somali pirates a few years ago.

The Minister further underlined that this forms the basis of a broader alliance, and “we are present; we must be if asked,” he emphasized.

He highlighted that Israel is not part of this alliance, as the international initiative aims to establish a broader foundation with the participation of Arab countries, focusing exclusively on the protection of navigation.

Furthermore, addressing the fact that the attacks are carried out by Iranian-origin drones, there is also pressure on Iran. He expressed the belief that with all these initiatives, the problem would be controlled, likening the current situation in the Red Sea to the 1954 crisis in the Suez.

Mr. Stylianides clarified that no instructions have been issued to shipping companies, and only they decide whether to divert ships from the Red Sea and follow the circumnavigation of Africa.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have stepped up their strikes on ships in the Red Sea, which they say are revenge against Israel for its military campaign in Gaza.

The attacks have forced some of the world’s biggest shipping and oil companies to suspend transit through one of the world’s most important maritime trade routes, which could potentially cause a shock to the global economy.