UAE and Arab countries ‘working to ensure freedom of navigation’ in region’s waters

Jordanian King Abdullah II (R), accompanied by his son Crown Prince Hussein (L) being received by the UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed (C), Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, upon the former’s arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport. (AFP/Jordanian Royal Palace/Yousef Allan)
Updated 23 May 2019
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UAE and Arab countries ‘working to ensure freedom of navigation’ in region’s waters

  • Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed makes comments as he meets Jordan's King Abdullah
  • UAE says international participation in an investigation into ‘sabotage attacks’ on oil tankers will lead to ‘impartial conclusions’

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said Wednesday the UAE is working with Arab countries to guarantee the freedom of navigation for ships in the region.
He was speaking after the UAE said earlier that the participation of several countries in an investigation into last week’s attack on oil tankers off its coast would support the “impartiality and transparency” of the findings.

Jordanian King Abdullah II (L) and his son Crown Prince Hussein (R) meeting with the UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed (C), Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in Abu Dhabi. (AFP/Jordanian Royal Palace/Yousef Allan)

Abu Dhabi has not yet blamed anyone for the acts of sabotage on four vessels including two Saudi oil tankers, but a senior UAE official has said Abu Dhabi was concerned about Iranian behavior in the region.
Speaking as he met Jordan’s King Abdullah in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE was closely co-ordinating with Jordan on the current regional developments to “ensure security and stability in the region,” state news agency WAM reported.

Jordanian King Abdullah II (L) meeting with the UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in Abu Dhabi. (AFP/Jordanian Royal Palace/Yousef Allan)

King Abdullah said the security of the UAE and Gulf region is an integral part of Jordan’s security. The two countries will also conduct joint military exercises in the foreseeable future.
The investigation is continuing into the attacks on the tankers off the coast of the UAE emirate Fujairah. The US and France, which has a naval base in Abu Dhabi, are participating in the probe as well as Saudi Arabia and Norway.

Jordanian King Abdullah II (C), accompanied by his son Crown Prince Hussein (R) being received by the UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed (L), Crown Prince of Abu, in Abu Dhabi. (AFP/Jordanian Royal Palace/Yousef Allan)

The UAE said earlier on Wednesday that the participation of several countries in the investigation would support the "impartiality and transparency" of the findings.
“The keenness of our international partners to participate in the investigation and the concerted efforts support the impartiality and transparency in arriving at results,” the UAE foreign ministry said.
US government sources told Reuters they believe Iran encouraged Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia or Iraq-based militias to carry out the operation.
Tehran has distanced itself from the attack, which comes as Iran and the United States spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the Gulf region.
The UAE foreign ministry welcomed the participation of several “friendly and brotherly” countries in the investigation, but did not name them. It did not give a timeframe, saying the probe would take “the time required.”

Jordanian King Abdullah II (C) being received by the UAE’s Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed (R), Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, upon the former’s arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport. (AFP/Jordanian Royal Palace/Yousef Allan)

A Norwegian-registered oil products tanker and a UAE fuel bunker barge were among the vessels hit in an area that serves as one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash has said Abu Dhabi would show restraint after the attack and that it was committed to de-escalation during what he described as a “difficult situation” caused by Iranian behavior in the region.
Saudi Arabia has called for emergency Gulf and Arab summits in Makkah on May 30 to discuss the implications of the tanker attack and an armed drone strike two days later on Saudi oil installations in the Kingdom, for which the Houthis have claimed responsibility.


Iran says Revolutionary Guard shoots down US drone

Updated 4 min 58 sec ago
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Iran says Revolutionary Guard shoots down US drone

  • The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the US and Iran
  • Capt. Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, declined to comment when asked if an American drone was shot down

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Thursday it shot down a US drone amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal. The US military declined to immediately comment.
The reported shootdown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the US military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies.
The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the US and Iran following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.
Iran recently has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and threatened to boost its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels, trying to pressure Europe for new terms to the 2015 deal.
In recent weeks, the US has sped an aircraft carrier to the Mideast and deployed additional troops to the tens of thousands already in the region. Mysterious attacks also have targeted oil tankers as Iranian-allied Houthi rebels launched bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.
All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the US and Iran into an open conflict, some 40 years after Tehran’s Islamic Revolution.
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone Thursday morning when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran’s Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) southeast of Tehran and is close to the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, citing the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, identified the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk.
Capt. Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, declined to comment when asked if an American drone was shot down.
However, he told The Associated Press: “There was no drone over Iranian territory.”