UAE hopes for ‘impartial’ tanker sabotage probe
ABU DHABI - The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that international participation in an investigation into "sabotage attacks" on oil tankers will lead to "impartial conclusions", and indicated the results may take time.
Four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were damaged on May 12 in mysterious attacks off the coast of the emirate of Fujairah on the Arabian Sea.
The UAE announced last week that the United States, France and Norway would take part in the probe along with Saudi Arabia.
"The participation of our international partners in the investigation will help us arrive at impartial conclusions in a transparent manner," the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement cited by the state news agency WAM.
"The ongoing joint investigations reflect the international community's determination to protect maritime security, the flow of international trade, and energy supplies," it said.
"With the participation of UAE's international partners, the investigation will continue in the proper manner and will conclude in due course," it added.
Fujairah port is the only Emirati terminal located on the Arabian Sea coast, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, through which most Gulf oil exports pass.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE gave details on the nature of the tanker attacks or accused anyone of responsibility.
It was followed two days later by an attack by explosive-laden drones on a major Saudi oil pipeline that was claimed by Yemen's Huthi rebels.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday it was "quite possible" that Iran was responsible for the sabotage of Gulf oil interests but added that its own robust response had prevented potential attacks on Americans.