UAE welcomes efforts to ease tension in region – minister

ABU DHABI, UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said on Sunday that his country welcomes any effort aimed to defuse the current tension in the region.

The UAE aspires to maintain stability and tranquility in Middle East and Arabian Gulf regions, and looks forward to see them attain further progress and development in the future, said Al-Nahyan in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

“The attack on four oil tankers off Fujairah, within the UAE’s territorial waters, was not only an attack against the UAE, but also against the countries whose flags were raised by these tankers, including Saudi Arabia and Norway, and against global maritime safety,” he said.

“When the attack on the four vessels took place, there were over 184 vessels docked off the UAE coasts in Fujairah, which is the world’s second largest bunkering hub after Singapore,” he said, adding that Fujairah is also a key port for ships to dock and refuel before entering the Strait of Hormuz.

Such an attack poses great concerns and regional tension as well, the Emirati foreign minister noted, affirming that his country welcomes any role by Germany and other countries to defuse the tension.

The UAE, Norway, and Saudi Arabia, along with other partners from the GCC countries, will continue their collaboration to investigate that attack and update UNSC with latest details in the future, said Al-Nahyan.

He also indicated that his country is committed to the agreement with UNSC to keep discussions on the attack behind closed doors for now until the Council begins to review the issue more openly.

Al-Nahyan also affirmed UAE’s desire to stay more professional in running the process and leaving the decision to the international community.

On the Iranian nuclear program and German foreign minister’s scheduled visit to Tehran on Monday, the Emirati top official stressed the importance of the region’s countries participating in the nuclear deal in order to secure its success.

The agreement should also cover broader issues such as ballistic missiles, backing terrorism, and interference in other countries’ internal affairs, he added.

“Of course, we are not part of the agreement, but there is a host of regional issues of concern that should be taken into consideration,” noted Al-Nahyan.

He also indicated that the region went through countless of conflicts and wars, and, therefore, diplomacy and dialogue should be given a chance, in addition to bigger efforts to secure hope to the young people.

“We also need bigger efforts by our friends and allies, Germany, and the five permanent UNSC members, to see stability, tranquility, development, and progress in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf,” said Al-Nahyan.

For his part, Maas said Abu Dhabi plays a pivotal role and in addressing regional issues, commending the GCC-member state’s reaction to the attacks on four oil tankers off Fujairah Port.

The German foreign minister also mentioned that his visit to the country aims to exchange views with influential regional parties on alleviating the current tension in the region.

All parties must bear their responsibilities and use every possible mean in their power to avert the “spiral escalation”, he said.

Four commercial ships were subjected to sabotage operations on May 12 near UAE territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of Fujairah.

The Emirati foreign ministry announced, in a statement, that all necessary measures were taken, and that an official investigation of the incident was carried out in cooperation with local and international bodies.

It also affirmed that there had been no injuries or fatalities on board the vessels, and that there had been also no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel.

Source: Kuwait News Agency