Saudi, UAE call to protect Gulf shipping route


Saudi, UAE call to protect Gulf shipping route

Sofia - Saudi Arabia also called for swift action to secure Gulf energy supplies.

By Agencies

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Published: Sun 16 Jun 2019, 11:10 PM

The UAE urged world powers on Saturday to help secure maritime traffic and energy supplies, following twin attacks on tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel.
"The international community must cooperate to secure international navigation and access to energy," UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said at a summit in Bulgaria. He said a "state sponsor" was involved in a May 12 attack on oil tankers in the Gulf, but did not name any particular country.
"Our conclusion is this has only been possible by a state-sponsored attack," Sheikh Abdullah later told reporters after meeting his Cypriot counterpart in Nicosia, referring to the May attack.
"We haven't named the state, but we hope that we can further work with our friends and partners in preventing such escalations from moving forward," he added.
Saudi Arabia also called for swift action to secure Gulf energy supplies. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih said "there must be a rapid and decisive response to the threat" to energy supplies, market stability and consumer confidence after the attacks in the Gulf area.
"We are in a complex region that has many resources, whether gas or oil, that are necessary for the world. We want the flow of said resources to remain safe, and to ensure the stability of the global economy. We must also secure our peoples and our economies," Sheikh Abdullah said in Sophia at a Press conference alongside Ekaterina Zaharieva, Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
"For us, the attacks on four oil tankers in the UAE's territorial waters are evidence that we, alongside our various partner countries, have identified as underwater explosions, utilising sophisticated technologies."
"These capabilities," he added, "are not present in illegal non-state actors or groups. These are disciplined processes carried out by a state. However, until now, there is insufficient evidence to point to a particular country".
He said the area in which the incidents took place has vital economic and geopolitical significance and that interruptions like the four attacks can lead to impeding the global supply of oil.
He explained that there were some 184 oil and shipping vessels, among others, in the area where the first attacks took place last month.
"This was a real threat to global maritime shipping," he warned.
"We must work together to spare the region from escalation, and give the voice of wisdom a chance," Sheikh Abdullah said.
"We have to work together to remove these tensions. We hoped that the efforts of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would succeed. The German foreign minister was present a few days ago in the region, and we remain hopeful in attaining a broader framework for cooperation with Iran."
"We depend on friendly nations, like Bulgaria, to confront fascist regimes that seek to destroy the region by spreading values of tolerance and success. Together, we can prevail over darkness," he said.
"The P5+1 Iran deal," he added, "had two major flaws. The first being the lack of involvement with regional countries during the dialogue process. The second, not containing Iran's ballistic missiles capabilities, and its interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries."
"Real regional security and stability will only be attained when regional actors work together. Our region is the main energy supplier to the world; our safety and security is key to ensuring prosperity and stability for all," he affirmed.
Commenting on UAE-Bulgaria ties, Sheikh Abdullah said that relations between the two countries are based on trust, and a willingness by both parties to work together to bring about new horizons for cooperation. He added that the two countries must work hard to promote bilateral ties, particularly in the trade and investment and tourism sectors.
Sheikh Abdullah expressed his gratitude for the warm reception, stressing that the latest visit reflects joint efforts to expand ties between the UAE and Bulgaria further. "We also have a joint mission to ensure the success of Bulgaria's participation at Expo 2020 Dubai," he added.
"We have agreed that there will be an open communication channel between the two sides, whose main objective is to develop the relationship and also to look for joint opportunities in the fields of security, technology, tourism and civil aviation," Sheikh Abdullah explained.
Sheikh Abdullah held a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, where they discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation.
Ekaterina Zaharieva welcomed the visit of Sheikh Abdullah, stressing the keenness of her country to strengthen relations in various fields.

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