Saudi Arabia calls for swift response to energy supply threats

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A video released by the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) on June 13, 2019, reportedly shows an Iranian navy patrol boat in the Gulf of Oman approaching the Japanese operated methanol tanker Kokuka Courageous and removing an unexploded mine. (AFP)
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Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan. (Al-Ekhbariya)
Updated 16 June 2019

Saudi Arabia calls for swift response to energy supply threats

  • Energy minister Khalid Al-Falih's comments come as Kokuka Courageous and Front Altair heading to ports in the UAE
  • GCC adds to international condemnation of attacks on two oil tankers in Gulf of Oman

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia called for a swift response to the threat to energy supplies, two days after attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

"There must be a rapid and decisive response to the threat of energy supply, market stability and consumer confidence, which are posed by recent terrorist acts in both the Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf, against the major global energy supply chains," Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said at a G20 meeting in Japan.

His comments came as the UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said the Gulf of Oman attacks and an attack last month on four tankers off the Emirates' coast  were carried out by a state-actor using sophisticated technology.

GCC Secretary-General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani added to the chorus of international condemnation on Saturday, describing the attacks as a dangerous escalation and violation of international laws.

He also said that it was a direct threat to maritime safety and the world’s energy supply. He said that “this attack is a terrorist act that calls for the international community to respond quickly and decisively to protect international shipping lines in this vital region of the world.” 


US President Donald Trump said the attack had Iran "written all over it" and Saudi Arabia said it agreed with Washington's initial assessment that Tehran was responsible. 

On Friday, the US military released video footage it said suggested that Iran wanted to hide evidence that it was behind the attacks.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to disrupt the Strait of Hormuz - the narrow shipping lane into the Arabian Gulf through which one fifth of the world's oil is transported.

Iran on Saturday summoned the British ambassador to Tehran after London also blamed it for the attacks, the Students News Agency ISNA reported.
"During the meeting with Iran's foreign ministry official, Iran strongly condemned the unfounded allegations and criticised Britain's unacceptable stance regarding the attacks in the Gulf of Oman," it said.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a statement Friday blaming Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for the attacks, saying no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible.

Meanwhile, crew members of the Norwegian-owned oil tanker that was attacked landed Saturday in Dubai after two days in Iran.
Associated Press journalists saw the crew of the Front Altair after their Iran Air flight from Bandar Abbas, Iran, landed in the UAE.

Earlier, the oil tanker left Iran's territorial waters and was under tow to the UAE, shipping officials said Saturday.
The Norwegian company which owns the ship said specialists would board the vessel on Saturday to assess the damage.

The other tanker that was attacked, the Kokuka Courageous, was heading to port Saturday, its owners said.

The Japanese tanker's Tokyo-based operator Kokuka confirmed the vessel was heading to the UAE.

"We still don't know if the tanker goes to Khor Fakkan or Fujairah as they are very close," said a spokesman.

Maritime experts would then seek to transfer its highly flammable cargo to shore, according to an unnamed official quoted by Japanese state media.

Earlier, Al-Falih said that he hopes oil producers will be able to balance the oil market before next year.
“We hope that we will balance the market before next year. We are working on it,” Al-Falih told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan, when asked about the current oil market situation.
Al-Falih said earlier this month that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was close to agreeing to extend a pact on cutting oil supplies beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries that were part of the production deal.

Muslim World League chief honored for strengthening ties between Islamic world, Russia

Updated 24 July 2019

Muslim World League chief honored for strengthening ties between Islamic world, Russia


MOSCOW: The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences has awarded the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, an honorary doctorate in recognition of his efforts to strengthen the relationship between the Islamic world and Russia.

Prof. Vitaly Naumkin, the director of the institute, who represents one of the most well-known academic institutions in the world over the past 200 years, talked about Al-Issa’s career, noting that he has contributed to the promotion of cultural rapprochement among nations through his visits to countries and his connections with different cultures and religions.

Naumkin said that the principles of moderation adopted by the MWL and its secretary-general contributed to the establishment of security in the world, noting that these principles addressed extremism and violence.

The honorary doctorate was given to Al-Issa for his services in the development of Islamic jurisprudence and improving official and popular relations between Russia and the Islamic world, he said.

The MWL secretary-general said that he was proud to receive the honorary doctorate from an institute that is well-known for its dedication and neutrality.

He also praised the Russian Federation’s care for Arab and Islamic culture and its keenness to communicate with the Muslim world, learn its language and understand its culture.

Al-Issa considered the award to be motivation to work on promoting cultural communication and exchange between the Islamic world and Russia.

He said that the institute has contributed to changing the stereotype of Orientalism in the Muslim world and has encouraged cultural communication between nations and peoples.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Russian presidency, the Duma and the Senate, as well as high-ranking diplomats, senior academics of Orientalism, religious leaders and a group of researchers and students.