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Outgoing British PM to meet Saudi MbS to discuss Gulf tensions

Theresa May will meet MbS [AFP]

Date of publication: 28 June, 2019

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the Gulf crisis.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the need for de-escalation in the Gulf region after a spike in tensions amid US-Iran dispute over the collapse of a landmark nuclear deal nuclear deal.

 “The PM will take the opportunity to discuss important regional issues with the Crown Prince including the need for the de-escalation of tensions in the Gulf and for all sides to back the process to end the conflict in Yemen,” May’s spokeswoman told reporters.

She added that May would also discuss the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.

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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