Sun. Jun 16th, 2019

State sponsor behind May tanker attacks, says UAE minister

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NICOSIA (Reuters) – The UAE’s foreign minister said on Saturday a “state sponsor” was involved in a May 12 attack on oil tankers in the Gulf, but did not name any particular country.

He did not mention attacks on two other tankers this week in the same area. The United States has said Iran was involved in both the May and the June incidents – accusations dismissed by Tehran.

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“Our conclusion is this has only been possible by a state-sponsored attack,” Al Nahyan told reporters after meeting his Cypriot counterpart in Nicosia, referring to the May attack.

“We haven’t named the state, but we hope that we can further work with our friends and partners in preventing such escalations from moving forward,” he added.

Earlier on Saturday, Arabiya TV’s Twitter account quoted Al Nahyan as saying Iran’s fingerprints were clear on the May 12 attacks. The tweet later disappeared from Twitter and Arabiya TV did not immediately comment on the reason.

The May 12 attacks targeted two Saudi tankers, an Emirati vessel and a Norwegian tanker, causing no casualties but fueling tensions between the United States and Iran during weeks of escalating rhetoric.

Reporting By Michele Kambas; Additional reporting by Asma Alsharif in Dubai; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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