US-Iran envoy says Bahrain to host Gulf maritime security conference

1 / 2
The Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer and amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry conducting drills in the Arabian Sea. (US Navy/AFP)
2 / 2
Updated 18 July 2019

US-Iran envoy says Bahrain to host Gulf maritime security conference

  • Brian Hook, the special envoy to Iran, said 65 countries would attend the event
  • Washington said last week it was seeking partners for a military coalition to protect the busy shipping lanes off Iran and Yemen

LONDON: The US said Bahrain will host a maritime security conference to ensure freedom of navigation in the region’s waters. 

The comments come after Washington said last week it was seeking partners for a military coalition to protect the busy shipping lanes off Iran and Yemen.

Brian Hook, the special envoy to Iran, said 65 countries would attend the event, Al-Arabiya reported, which comes amid a heightened threat for shipping in the waters around the Arabian Peninsula.

Several oil tankers have been attacked since May near the Strait of Hormuz - the narrow passage between the Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf, which serves as one of the world’s main conduits for crude oil. Iran has been blamed for the attacks, which many view as a calculated response to increased economic and military pressure from the US over Tehran’s nuclear program and destabilizing activities in the Middle East.

Tensions increased further when British forces helped seize an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar, which London said was attempting to deliver oil to Bashar Assad’s Syrian regime.

Iran threatened to retaliate and last week a British warship had to aid a UK-owned tanker when Iranian vessels tried to block the ship as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.

On Wednesday the UK's defense ministry said the reason it was deploying a third warship to the Gulf was “to protect UK interests and ensure freedom of navigation.” 

Meanwhile, mystery continued to surround a UAE-based taker, which stopped transmitting tracking data late on Saturday after passing through the Strait of Hormuz and which the US said is now located in Iranian waters.

Iran said late Tuesday that it towed a ship into its waters after the ship issued a distress call. 

A US official said the Panamanian-flagged Riah was in Iranian territorial waters, but it was not clear whether that was because Iran had seized it or rescued it.

*With Reuters


Sudan flood death toll reaches 62: state media

Updated 59 min 45 sec ago

Sudan flood death toll reaches 62: state media

  • Sudan has been hit by torrential rains since the start of July
  • Nearly 200,000 people in at least 15 states across the country have been affected

KHARTOUM: Heavy rainfall and flash floods have killed 62 people in Sudan and left 98 others injured, the official SUNA news agency reported on Sunday.
Sudan has been hit by torrential rains since the start of July, affecting nearly 200,000 people in at least 15 states across the country including the capital Khartoum.
The worst affected area is the White Nile state in the south.
Flooding of the Nile river remains "the biggest problem", SUNA said, citing a health ministry official.
On Friday the United Nations said 54 people had died due to the heavy rains.
It said more than 37,000 homes had been destroyed or damaged, quoting figures from the government body it partners with in the crisis response.
"Humanitarians are concerned by the high likelihood of more flash floods," the UN said, adding that the rainy season was expected to last until October.
The floods are having a lasting humanitarian impact on communities, with cut roads, damaged water points, lost livestock and the spread of water-borne diseases by insects.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said an extra $150 million were needed from donors to respond to surging waters, in addition to the $1.1 billion required for the overall humanitarian situation in Sudan.