UK backs U.S., China calls for restraint after Gulf tanker attack

Earlier on Friday Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there was no reason not to believe the United States' assessment that Iran was responsible for the attacks.

By REUTERS
June 14, 2019 11:14
1 minute read.
Oman, Strait of Hormuz

A tugboat moves cargo towards the Strait of Hormuz off the coast of Musandam province, Oman, July 20, 2018. (photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)

 
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Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Friday said there was no reason not to believe the United States' assessment that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

"We are going to make our own independent assessment, we have our processes to do that, (but) we have no reason not to believe the American assessment and our instinct is to believe it because they are our closest ally," Hunt told BBC radio, echoing comments he made late on Thursday.

Commenting on the attacks, China's foreign ministry said on Friday that all sides should exercise restraint.

Nobody wanted to see war in the Gulf and China hoped all sides could resolve differences through dialog, a spokesman for the ministry said.

The United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday that drove up oil prices and raised concerns about a new U.S.-Iranian confrontation, though Tehran has denied the allegation.

The attacks threaten global energy security, Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said.


Thursday's tanker attacks stoked concern of reduced flows of crude on one of the world's key shipping routes, pushing up oil prices as much as 4.5%.

"This is a major concern for global energy security, for global oil security and for global energy markets," Birol told reporters.

"We are monitoring events very closely," he added, saying the agency stood ready to act if and when necessary.

Birol was speaking at the release of an IEA report on hydrogen in Karuizawa northwest of Tokyo, where Group of 20 energy and environment ministers are meeting this week in the run up to a summit this month.

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