UK to join US-led maritime security mission in Gulf

The new mission would be protecting the security of shipping. (UK MoD)
Updated 05 August 2019

UK to join US-led maritime security mission in Gulf

  • Decision follows Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker, the Stena Impero, last month

LONDON: Britain said on Monday it was joining a US-led maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels traveling through the Strait of Hormuz.
Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a British tanker, Stena Impero, near the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations after Britain seized an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accusing it of violating sanctions on Syria.
“We look forward to working alongside the US and others to find an international solution to the problems in the Strait of Hormuz,” Defense Minister Ben Wallace told reporters.
Foreign minister Dominic Raab said Britain remained committed to working with Iran to maintain the 2015 nuclear deal agreed with Tehran in return for an easing of sanctions.
A British security source said the focus of the new mission would be protecting the security of shipping and Britain would not be joining US sanctions against Iran.


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.