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Bahrain to Host Gulf Navigation Security Meeting

Bahrain to Host Gulf Navigation Security Meeting

Thursday, 18 July, 2019 - 07:30
A sailor stands guard as an oil tanker makes its way toward Bahrain during a joint U.S.-U.K. anti-mine exercise in the Arabian Sea in September. (Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)
Washington - Asharq Al-Awsat
Bahrain will host a maritime security conference to ensure freedom of navigation in the region’s waters, Brian Hook, the special envoy to Iran, said on Wednesday.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said the upcoming meeting aims to discuss facing the Iranian challenges and provocations in the Gulf waters.

Speaking at a seminar attended by Bahrain’s foreign minister, Hook said the meeting on maritime security in the Gulf would be held next fall, as a follow-up to the Warsaw meeting, which was organized in February. He added that 65 countries would attend the event, without naming the participating states.

The conference on peace and security in the Middle East was held under the auspices of the US and Poland in Warsaw and approved in one of its provisions the file of navigation security in the Gulf.

Meanwhile, Reuters quoted on Wednesday US officials as saying they were unsure whether an oil tanker pulled into Iranian waters was seized by Iran or rescued after facing mechanical faults as Tehran asserted.

The MT Riah disappeared from ship tracking maps when its transponder was switched off in the Strait of Hormuz on July 14, Reuters said. Its last position was off the coast of the Iranian island of Qeshm in the strait.

Iran says it towed a vessel into its waters from the strait after the ship issued a distress call. Although Tehran did not name the vessel, the Riah is the only ship whose recorded movements appear likely to match that description, Reuters reported.

A US official, speaking to the news agency on the condition of anonymity, said it appeared that the tanker was in Iranian territorial waters, but it was not clear whether that was because Iran had seized it or rescued it.

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