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

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.


Kais Saied wins Tunisia presidency by ‘significant margin’

Updated 43 min 1 sec ago

Kais Saied wins Tunisia presidency by ‘significant margin’

  • Saied garnered 2.7 million votes against one million received by his rival business tycoon Nabil Karoui in Sunday's runoff, the commission said

TUNIS: Tunisia's election commission said a preliminary count shows conservative law professor Kais Saied has won the country's presidential election by a significant margin.
The commission reported Monday that Saied, who hasn't held elected office before, received 72.71% of the vote. His opponent, media mogul Nabil Karoui, got 27.29%.
The results confirm exit polls from Sunday's election.
Nabil Bafoun, head of the electoral commission, said "by looking at the result ... and knowing that it represents an absolute majority for this second round of the presidential elections, we, the Tunisian electoral commission, declare Mister Kais Saied winner of the presidential elections."
The commission said that Saied got a majority of the votes in each of the 33 electoral districts. He exceeded 90% in six traditionally very conservative southern districts.
The 61-year-old Saied is an independent outsider but has support from moderate party Ennahdha, which won Tunisia's parliamentary election last week.
He has promised to overhaul the country's governing structure to give more power to young people and local governments.
Karoui, 56, told supporters Sunday the race wasn't over because his legal team would explore options. He was arrested Aug. 23 in a corruption investigation and released with only two days left to campaign.
French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Saied for his election in a phone call Monday and wished him "success for Tunisia."
Macron stressed the Tunisian people's "democratic mobilization" over the past several weeks. He told Saied that he intends to pursue and enhance the partnership between the two countries.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi congratulated the Tunisian people and the elected president in a written statement.
If no legal action is taken to challenge the results, the electoral body is set to announce the definitive vote count on Thursday. Tunisia's parliament will then hold an extraordinary session during which the newly elected president will be sworn in and will formally start his five-year term.
The presidential vote was held early following the July death in office of President Beji Caid Essebsi.