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UAE foreign minister says 'can't blame anyone yet' for tanker attacks

Sheikh Abdullah has not named a culprit in attacks on shipping [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 June, 2019

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The UAE has distanced itself from US' accusations that Iran is behind a series of attacks on shipping in the Gulf region.

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Saudi, UAE, Iran,

 

UAE's foreign minister said on Wednesday that it is still not clear who was responsible for a series of attacks on shipping in the Gulf region over the past month, despite the US' insistence that Iran carried out the acts of sabotage.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan told reporters in Moscow that Iran was not necessarily the culprit behind two series of attacks on oil tankers off the UAE or near Emirati waters.

"Honestly we can't point the blame at any country because we don't have evidence," Al-Nahyan said, according to Bloomberg.

"If there is a country that has the evidence, then I'm convinced that the international community will listen to it. But we need to make sure the evidence is precise and convincing."

The Gulf has been the focus of a series of two incidents involving shipping, one on four commercial ships in or near Fujairah in May, and another around the Strait of Hormuz, which resulted in a blaze on at least one tanker this month.

The US blamed Iran for the attacks, and tensions between the two countries peaked last Thursday, when Tehran shot down an American drone.

The incident nearly led to US airstrikes on Iran, which would have been a serious escalation in the crisis.

A UAE investigation into the May attacks concluded that a "state actor" was responsible but did not name a culprit.

The Emirati foreign minister met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday and attempted to defuse the situation.

"We are in a region that is tense and important for the world and we don't want more tension," said Sheikh Abdullah.

Tensions have been running high after the US slapped sanctions on Iran, after Washington pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.

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