The United Arab Emirates has rejected the Western media’s “mischaracterization” of the country’s talks with the United States over the Persian Gulf’s security, and announced its withdrawal from a US-led maritime coalition in the region.
In a report on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal claimed that the Emirati decision to withdraw from the coalition came in frustration at the US failure to respond to what the newspaper claimed to be Iranian threats.
Citing US and Persian Gulf officials, the US newspaper claimed the UAE was disappointed and had demanded the US take action against Iran after the recent seizure of oil tankers.
In a statement, the UAE foreign ministry, however, said that the newspaper’s report was inaccurate, saying it was a “mischaracterization” of the country’s talks with Washington.
The statement said the UAE is committed to peaceful dialogue and diplomatic engagement as a means of advancing the shared goals of regional security and stability.
"The UAE remains committed to responsibly ensuring the safety of navigation in its seas," the UAE statement added.
It, however, said the country is no longer part of a US-led maritime security coalition in the region, without giving any reason for its withdrawal from the coalition.
"As a result of our ongoing evaluation of effective security cooperation with all partners, two months ago, the UAE withdrew its participation in the Combined Maritime Forces," said the statement, referring to the Bahrain-headquartered force, which was established in 2001 to purportedly fight terrorism and piracy in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf regions.
Iran has seized a number of vessels in the Persian Gulf over the past years citing various violations, with the most recent seizures taking place in late April and early May.
This month, a Panama-flagged oil tanker was confiscated by the naval units of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Hormuz Strait following a complaint by a plaintiff and on a judicial order.
Nearly a week before that, the Iranian Army’s Navy seized a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker in the Sea of Oman, citing its involvement in a maritime accident with an Iranian fishing craft, which resulted in the injury and missing of a number of its crew.
There have also been various encounters between Iranian forces and US warships in the waters over the past years.
Iran says it views US military vessels in the Persian Gulf waters as a source of tension and instability in the region, stressing that countries in the region can well protect the Persian Gulf waters themselves if they work together.
The UAE’s withdrawal from the US-led coalition came amid warming ties between the Arab kingdom and Iran.
Last month, Iran appointed a new envoy to the UAE, ending a seven-year absence of an Iranian ambassador in the country.
Iran has also normalized relations with Saudi Arabia under a China-brokered deal that includes the reopening of the two countries’ diplomatic missions in the respective countries.