US-Gulf talks on corridor security and navigation safety

The Secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Nayef Al-Hajraf, held talks with the Commander of the US Naval Forces at the Central Command, Charles Cooper, today, Tuesday, on the importance of enhancing the security of waterways and ensuring the movement and safety of navigation.

A statement by the Gulf Cooperation Council stated that the meeting between the Gulf and US officials took place via video call today, Tuesday.

Charles Cooper is also the commander of the US Fifth Fleet in the Gulf region, based in Bahrain.

The meeting comes after the Houthi group announced the seizure of an Emirati cargo ship off the coast of Hodeidah Governorate, “with military equipment on board and carrying out hostile acts”, in exchange for the Saudi-led Arab coalition denying this.

The statement added that during the meeting, they discussed areas of joint cooperation between the two sides, and the importance of enhancing the security of waterways and ensuring freedom, safety and navigation in the Arabian Gulf region.

Al-Hajraf stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation in the field of maritime security, without further details.

The coalition confirmed that the ship was on a naval mission from Socotra Island to the Saudi port of Jizan, carrying all field equipment for operating the Saudi field hospital on Socotra Island in southern Yemen.

Securing the Gulf region, through whose waters nearly half of the oil supplies to the world pass, is one of the tasks of the US Fifth Fleet, amid US-Gulf accusations – especially from Saudi Arabia – of Iran and its allies of compromising navigation, an accusation usually denied by Tehran.

Yemen has been witnessing for more than 7 years a continuous war between pro-government forces backed by an Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, and the Iranian-backed Houthis, who have controlled several governorates, including the capital, Sanaa, since September 2014.

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