Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 August 2019

UAE stands with initiatives that secure stability in Strait of Hormuz, Dr Anwar Gargash says

Meeting between world powers in Bahrain aims to protect maritime traffic from Iranian threat

US Navy Capt Putnam H Browne, commanding officer of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, speaks during a change of command ceremony on the flight deck in the Arabian Sea. EPA
US Navy Capt Putnam H Browne, commanding officer of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, speaks during a change of command ceremony on the flight deck in the Arabian Sea. EPA

The UAE stands with the international community in preserving the security and stability of the Strait of Hormuz, Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday.

Representatives from the US, UK, France and other European states are expected to meet in Bahrain on Wednesday afternoon to discuss maritime security in the region.

The countries are to discuss forming a security force to protect maritime traffic through the vital Strait of Hormuz after several attacks on tankers, which were blamed on Iran.

The initiative comes two weeks after Tehran seized a British-flagged oil tanker, the Stena Impero.

Dr Anwar Gargash lauds the meeting between world powers in Bahrain. AFP
Dr Anwar Gargash lauds the meeting between world powers in Bahrain. AFP

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been holding the tanker and 23 crew since July 19. The move came after UK forces seized an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar on suspicion of breaching sanctions against Syria.

“The international initiative on the security of the Strait of Hormuz is an explicit signal of the international community’s [commitment] towards ensuring the safety of navigation and energy of our region to the world,” Dr Gargash wrote on Twitter.

“We stand with initiatives that preserve the security of the region and ones that avoid the possibility of confrontation.”

British officials said they were not expecting an immediate outcome from Wednesday’s meeting, but the proposals would be taken back to governments for further discussion.

“We are aware that stability is only implemented through the tools of diplomacy, the respect for sovereignty and non-interference,” Dr Gargash said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the plan for a maritime security force would take time but he was confident “countries from all across the world who have a vested interest in keeping those waterways open will participate".

“It will take more time than we wish it would take, but I’m very confident that the world understands its importance," Mr Pompeo said.

"America is prepared to be a significant part of that but we need countries from all across the world to assist us in protecting commercial transit."

Several EU member states have expressed interest in forming a mission to ensure the safe transport of cargo but Germany has all but ruled out a naval contribution.

An EU mission would probably be separate to the US plan, although American officials said it would be complementary.

Germany has rebuffed the US's plans to form a maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz. EPA
Germany has rebuffed the US's plans to form a maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz. EPA

Updated: August 1, 2019 02:45 AM

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