UAE military ordered not to escalate Qatar crisis: Official

UAE military aircraft would also fly alternative routes over Saudi Arabia to avoid the possibility of interception by Qatari warplanes. (Reuters)
Updated 23 January 2018
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UAE military ordered not to escalate Qatar crisis: Official

ABU DHABI: A military official in the United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday its forces had instructions not to escalate an ongoing diplomatic crisis with Qatar.
UAE military aircraft would also fly alternative routes over Saudi Arabia to avoid the possibility of interception by Qatari warplanes, air force brigadier general Helal Saeed Al-Qubaisi told reporters at a news conference in the capital Abu Dhabi.
The UAE said on Monday that Qatari warplanes had twice intercepted its civilian aircraft during routine flights to Bahrain, but Qatar called the claim “completely untrue.”
Qatar said the UAE allegation followed incidents on Dec. 21 and Jan. 3 in which it accused UAE military aircraft of violating its airspace. Abu Dhabi denies the charges.
The UAE is one of four Arab countries, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, that imposed travel, diplomatic and trade sanctions on Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the charges.


Iran leader backs suggestion to block Gulf oil exports if own sales stopped

Updated 21 July 2018
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Iran leader backs suggestion to block Gulf oil exports if own sales stopped

  • Rouhani’s apparent threat earlier this month to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries came in reaction to looming US sanctions
  • Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile US action

DUBAI: Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday backed President Hassan Rouhani’s suggestion that Iran may block Gulf oil exports if its own exports are stopped, according to his official website.
“(Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) said remarks by the president ... that ‘if Iran’s oil is not exported, no regional country’s oil will be exported,’ were important remarks that reflect the policy and the approach of (Iran’s) system,” Khamenei’s website said.
Rouhani’s apparent threat earlier this month to disrupt oil shipments from neighboring countries came in reaction to looming US sanctions and efforts by Washington to force all countries to stop buying Iranian oil.
Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, in retaliation for any hostile US action.
Khamenei used a speech to foreign ministry officials to reject any renewed talks with the United States after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
“The word and even the signature of the Americans cannot be relied upon, so negotiations with America are of no avail,” Khamenei said.
It would be an “obvious mistake” to negotiate with the United States as Washington was unreliable, Khamenei added according to his website.