EU ministers warn against jumping to conclusions on Oman gulf attacks

The European Union (EU) ministers warned on Monday against jumping to premature conclusions about the recent attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

28 EU Defence ministers agree to move forward on European Defence

28 EU Defence ministers agree to move forward on European Defence

Meanwhile, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Britain believed Iran to be responsible.

The two vessels, from Norway and Japan, were damaged in the incidents on Thursday.

The Norwegian tanker caught fire after an explosion.

The alleged attacks, at a time of heightened tensions in the region, have prompted concerns about the outbreak of a new Gulf war.

Iran has rejected the accusations, while Washington and London insist they have evidence of Tehran’s role.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called for an independent investigation.

But German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, urged caution on Monday, noting that Berlin has not yet come to a final conclusion on who is to blame.

“We are still gathering information,’’ Maas said ahead of talks in Luxembourg with his EU counterparts.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, recalled the 2003 Iraq war, which was based on erroneously interpreted Western intelligence on the existence of weapons of mass destruction.

The foreign ministers’ main task is to “avoid war,’’ Asselborn said, joining Guterres’ call for an independent investigation.

“I think it’s always useful to establish the facts so that we can draw policy conclusions based on facts,’’ added Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak.

Meanwhile, several ministers said the issue should be kept separate from efforts to uphold the Iran nuclear deal after Washington withdrew from the 2015 accord aimed at preventing Tehran from building a nuclear bomb.

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“If we tried to put all the problems into one package then it becomes a big mess,’’ Lajcak noted.

His Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, said: “The nuclear deal should be judged on the countenance of the deal itself’’.

But Maas noted that “of course’’ the latest incidents made efforts to uphold the nuclear deal “more difficult’’.


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