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The Latest: Pompeo talks to UAE leader about countering Iran

Posted at 1:40 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-24 14:40:02-04

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on tensions between the U.S. and Iran and in the Persian Gulf (all times local):

10:40 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met with Abu Dhabi's influential crown prince to sell the Trump administration's idea for maritime security in the Persian Gulf, amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Pompeo was heard telling Prince Mohammed bin Zayed on Monday that the plan would involve the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and another 20 countries.

Pompeo, in the presence of reporters traveling with him, told the prince the plan would rely on regional allies "to participate" with their "military folks."

He added that Trump "is keen on sharing that the United States doesn't bear the cost."

Few concrete details have emerged about the plan.

Pompeo, who had earlier been in Saudi Arabia, is visiting with Gulf Arab allies to discuss building a global coalition to counter Iran.


10:25 p.m.

Israel's prime minister says a high-profile trilateral security summit with Russia and the U.S. will focus on Iran and Syria.

Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement Monday ahead of the meeting in Israel, saying security officials will focus on "Iran, Syria and other subjects that make it difficult to achieve security and stability in our region."

He added that the summit was especially needed "at the current time," in reference to escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, an Iran hawk, is in Israel for Tuesday's summit, where Netanyahu's government has long pressed for harsher sanctions against Iran and carried out strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.


10:05 p.m.

The United Nations is warning that "any escalation" in the crisis between the U.S. and Iran would be a catastrophe.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday that the U.N. secretary-general is urging all sides "to show nerves of steel" and take steps to avoid any further provocations.

Iran has threatened to shoot down more U.S. spy drones, after downing one last Thursday. The incident escalated already high tensions with Washington, which said the drone had been flying above international waters.


7:55 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in the United Arab Emirates after meetings in Saudi Arabia aimed at building a global coalition to counter Iran.

Pompeo wrote on Twitter Monday that he had met with Saudi King Salman in the city of Jiddah to discuss the heightened tensions and protecting maritime security in the Persian Gulf.

He is expected to meet Abu Dhabi's powerful Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, before heading to India Tuesday.

The UAE, a close U.S. ally, is a member of the Saudi-led coalition at war against Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen.

Still, the tiny Gulf kingdom is wary of direct conflict with Iran, and has expressed strong support for diplomacy in the crisis between the U.S. and Iran.


5:40 p.m.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency is reporting that a local fisherman has found parts of the U.S. spy drone that Iran shot down in the Gulf of Oman last week.

The report says the parts will be delivered to Iranian security forces in Qeshm Island, which is located in the Strait of Hormuz, the chokepoint through which all oil trade passes in the Persian Gulf.

Officials have yet to confirm the report.

Iranian authorities had already shown parts of the downed drone, valued at more than $100 million, to journalists on Friday.

Iran says it shot down the spy drone for violating Iranian airspace, which the U.S. insists was flying above international waters.

President Donald Trump called off strikes in retaliation as tensions flare between Washington and Tehran.


5:35 p.m.

Russia's national security adviser says Moscow remains committed to Israel's security ahead of a summit focusing on the crisis in neighboring Syria.

Nikolai Patrushev said Monday that Russia is "paying special attention to preserve the security of Israel" at a press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

The trilateral meeting with top American and Israeli security officials will convene Tuesday in the shadow of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Netanyahu praised security cooperation between Russia and Israel, saying it has "significantly changed the situation in the area."

The countries have a military hotline to coordinate air force operations over Syria, where Russia supports President Bashar Assad's forces and Israel frequently strikes targets linked to Iran.


4:25 p.m.

The U.S. special envoy for Iran says the United States wants international partners to join forces to increase maritime security in the Persian Gulf.

The remarks Monday by envoy Brian Hook come as the U.S. tries to build a global coalition against Iran amid escalating tensions in the region.

Hook told reporters that one option could be to "enhance" an existing multinational maritime force in the region involving about 30 countries that currently fights drug and arms smuggling.

Alternatively, he said allied nations with commercial interests in the oil-rich region could launch an all-new maritime security initiative.

He wouldn't elaborate, saying only: "There is a lot of interest in finding a new initiative to enhance maritime security which we think is something we could internationalize."

He said the U.S. will discuss options at the Group of 20 summit in Japan this week, though it's unclear which and whether other countries are likely to back the initiative.


2:50 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met with Saudi King Salman and separately with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the escalated crisis in the Persian Gulf.

Pompeo arrived in the Saudi city of Jiddah earlier on Monday in a hastily arranged visit amid mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran as Iran's navy chief warned Iranian forces wouldn't hesitate to shoot down more U.S. surveillance drones from their skies.

Pompeo was greeted upon his arrival in Jiddah by new U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid and Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf.

Before departing, Pompeo said he'd be talking to officials in the Persian Gulf as well as Asia and Europe as he sets out to build an international coalition against Iran.

While Pompeo said the U.S. is prepared to negotiate with Iran, he also said new U.S. sanctions against Iran are to be announced Monday.


2:10 p.m.

The U.S. Navy says another American warship has arrived to the Mideast amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Monday's Navy statement says the USS Boxer amphibious assault ship, along with the amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry arrived in the 5th Fleet's area of responsibility.

The Navy didn't elaborate on where the ships were.

The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet oversees the Navy's presence in the Persian Gulf and surrounding Mideast waters.

The USS Boxer carries the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, as well as a combat helicopter squadron. It came from the Indian Ocean after leaving San Diego on May 1. The Boxer's group replaces that of the USS Kearsarge.

Already, the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and accompanying vessels are in the region. It was rushed to the region in May by the White House over what it described at the time as threats from Iran.


1 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Saudi Arabia in a hastily arranged visit amid mounting tensions in the region.

Iran's naval commander Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi, meanwhile, warned that Iranian forces wouldn't hesitate to act again and shoot down more U.S. surveillance drones.

He told a meeting of defense officials that the "crushing response can always be repeated, and the enemy knows it."

The downing of the drone, valued at more than $100 million, saw the United States pull back from the brink of a military strike on Iran after President Donald Trump last week called off strikes in retaliation.

A fresh round of U.S. sanctions on Iran is to be announced on Monday in a bid to force the Iranian leadership into talks.