Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 August 2019

UAE-US defence agreement kicks in as John Bolton visits Abu Dhabi

US national security adviser John Bolton had earlier said the mines used in the Fujairah tanker attacks were 'almost certainly' from Iran

The UAE and the US have activated a defence co-operation agreement amid rising tension with Iran.

US national security adviser John Bolton visited Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and publicly criticised Iran over attacks on oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah this month.

The Defence Co-operation Agreement was signed between the nations this year but on Wednesday night its implementation was announced in a joint statement.

The agreement “will enhance military co-ordination between the two nations, further advancing an already robust military, political and economic partnership at a critical time", the state news agency Wam quoted the statement as saying.

Arab leaders will meet at an emergency summit in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to discuss the implications of the tanker attacks, and drone strikes two days later on oil pumping stations in the kingdom.

Mr Bolton said on Wednesday that the attacks on four tankers were caused by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran”.

The four ships were hit by saboteurs on May 12, prompting condemnation from Gulf countries and an international investigation.

The UAE said it would wait for the investigation results before apportioning blame for the attack. US experts are part of that investigation.

“It’s clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack," Mr Bolton said at a US embassy briefing in Abu Dhabi. "Who else would you think would be doing it? Someone from Nepal?

“But I think there’s no doubt in anybody’s minds in Washington. We know who is responsible and I think it’s important that the leadership in Iran know that we know."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Mr Bolton's claims were laughable.

Mr Bolton said the US had provided assistance to the investigation, but he declined to discuss specifics saying they would be for the companies and countries involved to disclose.

He also revealed there was a failed strike recently on the Saudi oil-shipping port of Yanbu, which would represent a fourth attempted attack linked to Iran and its proxies since the start of May.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels also launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia and Iran-backed militias were blamed for a rocket attack near the US embassy in Baghdad on May 19.

Updated: May 30, 2019 11:26 AM

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