UK FM to Iran: There will be no tanker swap

Britain on Thursday ruled out exchanging an Iranian tanker detained by Gibraltar for a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf. (AFP)
Updated 01 August 2019

UK FM to Iran: There will be no tanker swap

  • Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker last month
  • Russia's foreign ministry said the US and European coalition would be attempt to pressurize Iran

BANGKOK: Britain on Thursday ruled out exchanging an Iranian tanker detained by Gibraltar for a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said while on a trip to the Thai capital Bangkok.

"We are not going to barter: if people or nations have detained UK-flagged illegally then the rule of law and rule of international law must be upheld."

"We are not going to barter a ship that was detained legally with a ship that was detained illegally: that's not the way that Iran will come in from the cold," he said. "So I am afraid some kind of barter or haggle or linkage is not on the table."

Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker last month. That came after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accused of violating sanctions on Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia's foreign ministry said the US and European nations attempts to create a naval coalition to patrol the Strait of Hormuz is merely an attempt to pressurize Iran.

(With Reuters)


Turkey sends armed drone to northern Cyprus amid gas dispute

Updated 16 December 2019

Turkey sends armed drone to northern Cyprus amid gas dispute

  • The breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles
  • A recent agreement between Turkey and Libya claims extensive areas of sea for Turkey in the Mediterranean

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus: A Turkish military drone was delivered to northern Cyprus on Monday amid growing tensions over Turkey’s deal with Libya that extended its claims to the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone landed in Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta around 0700 GMT, an AFP correspondent said, after the breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles.
It followed a deal signed last month between Libya and Turkey that could prove crucial in the scramble for recently discovered gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
The agreement claimed extensive areas of the sea for Turkey, undercutting claims by Greece and the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which runs the southern part of the island.
Analysts say Turkey was pushing back against rival efforts to claim exploration rights in the area after Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel excluded Turkey from a new “East Mediterranean Gas Forum” that also includes Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian territories.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey, said approval for the drone was given last week “in light of the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean region” and “to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the TRNC and Turkey.”
The TRNC’s transport minister, Tolga Atakan, said Turkish drones were partly a response to the acquisition of Israeli drones by Cyprus in October to monitor its exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops occupied the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta.
Turkey already has two drilling vessels in the eastern Mediterranean despite the threat of European Union sanctions.
Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and says the TRNC has the right to explore around the entire island.