Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds made the announcement in a statement on Friday, noting that the sudden end of the country’s naval presence in the Middle East came as the Federal Government struggles with a growingly uncertain strategic environment closer to home.
Back in June, the Australian Defense Force (ADF) withdrew HMAS Toowoomba from the Middle East and returned it home.
The frigate was the last Australian Navy ship deployed to the region under Operation MANITOU, which is the country’s purported contribution to support international efforts to promote maritime security, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East Region (MER).
“We now face an increasingly challenging strategic environment which is placing greater demand on ADF resources closer to home,” Reynolds said.
“As a result, the Australian Defence Force will reduce its naval presence in the Middle East to enable more resources to be deployed in our region,” she added.
Canberra, with its shifted priorities, will also pull out of the US-led naval coalition patrolling the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf at the end of December.