The United Arab Emirates says it has joined a U.S.-led coalition to protect waterways across the Mideast after an attack on Saudi oil installations.
The state-run news agency announced the UAE’s decision in a statement Thursday. It quoted Salem al-Zaabi of the Emirati Foreign Ministry as saying the UAE joined the coalition to “ensure global energy security and the continued flow of energy supplies to the global economy.”
Saudi Arabia joined the coalition on Wednesday. Australia, Bahrain and the United Kingdom also are taking part. The U.S. formed the coalition after attacks on oil tankers that American officials blame on Iran, as well as Iran’s seizure of tankers in the region. Iran denies being behind the tanker explosions.
On Monday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a vessel in the Gulf for allegedly smuggling 250,000 litres of diesel fuel to the United Arab Emirates, Iran’s semi-official Students News agency ISNA reported. Tensions have risen further since Saturday when twin attacks blamed by Washington and Riyad on Tehran hit the world’s largest oil processing plant and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia.
“The UAE’s accession to the alliance comes in support of regional and international efforts to deter threats to maritime navigation and global trade,” the director of its international security cooperation department, Salem Mohammed al-Zaabi, said in a statement.
Zaabi said the UAE joined “in order to secure the flow of energy supplies to the global economy and contribute to maintaining international peace and security.
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