Oman talks to Iran, other parties to restore stability to Strait of Hormuz


RIYADH - Omani officials are in talks with ‘all parties’ to restore stability to the Strait of Hormuz after recent threats to oil tankers and the freedom of navigation, Foreign Minister Yousef Bin Alawi said after discussions with Iranian officials in Tehran.

“We don’t mediate, but in this case we are more concerned than others to ensure the stability of navigation, and that’s why we are in touch with all parties,” he said in remarks aired by state-run television on Sunday.

“We have a responsibility when it comes to the Strait of Hormuz.”

Attacks against oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit point for global oil supplies, have fueled concerns the region was sliding into war as the U.S. tightens sanctions on Iran following the Trump administration’s decision to exit the 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic.

Tensions flared even further after Iran seized a British tanker this month in an apparent retaliation to the UK’s move to hold an Iranian vessel near Gibraltar early this month for violating sanctions against Syria.

The Omani minister held talks with top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during his trip.

The U.K. said on Sunday it deployed one of its Type 45 warships to help escort commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz. The frigate, HMS Duncan, will operate alongside the Royal Navy’s HMS Montrose Type 23 to shepherd British-flagged ships.

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