The United Arab Emirates says ensuring free and safe navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is the responsibility of all major importers of oil.
The position was laid out by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday during a visit from Japanese diplomats.
“This isn’t just the responsibility of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” al-Nayhan reportedly told his Japanese counterpart Koichiro Gemba on Tuesday.
“No party, be it the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Iran or the international community, will benefit from the blocking of international waterways,” Shaikh
Al-Nayhan’s remarks were in reference to recent threats by Iran to close the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz though which a third of the world’s oil flows.
The United States responded saying any attempt to close the strait of Hormuz would be regarded as “an act of war” and would “not be tolerated.”
Military analysts say that Iran could only keep the vital waterway closed for a brief period before facing an overwhelming military reaction from the US and its allies.
Even so, such a closure would likely have disastrous short-term effects for the global economy.
Gemba agreed that Iran should not threaten to block the Strait of Hormuz, but refused to commit his nation to taking action on behalf of Gulf states should Iran attempt to make good on its threat.
Saudi Arabia supplies 30 per cent of Japan’s oil imports, with another 20 per cent coming from the UAE, 10 per cent from Qatar and 9 per cent from Iran.
Meanwhile, an oil export pipeline from Habshan oil terminal in Abu Dhabi to Fujairah that will bypass the Strait of Hormuz will be ready by the middle of 2012.
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