PARIS: Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was working with European capitals to improve maritime security in the Persian Gulf but stopped short of backing Britain's call for a naval mission to ensure safe shipping in the region.

Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday told lawmakers a de-escalation of tensions was needed several days after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in what London said was an act of “state piracy".

“This is why we are setting up a European initiative, with Britain and Germany, to ensure that there is a mission to monitor and observe maritime security in the Gulf," Le Drian said.

Copyright Reuters, 2019