Russia welcomes Iran non aggression move in Gulf

Monitoring Desk

MOSCOW: Russia hailed on Monday an Iranian initiative to conclude a non-aggression pact with the Persian Gulf countries.

This step can ease tensions in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, speaking at a news conference in Moscow, following the meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

“To agree not to attack each other is the first step to defuse the tension. We would consider such an agreement to be beneficial,” Lavrov said. He cited a previous Russian offer to Arab countries to help work out a security conception, suggesting transparency in military affairs, joint military exercises and other confidence-building measures among Arab countries, the UN, EU and five permanent members of the UN security Council as guarantors.

“So far, there is no common position among the Arabs on this matter,” he added. Commenting the deployment of the 1,500 U.S. troops in the Middle East, Lavrov said: “Any growth of military potential will lead to the new risks.”

On May 26, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif proposed a non-aggression pact with Gulf Arab states during his visit to Baghdad.

The move came amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran since Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations including the five permanent UN Security Council members as well as Germany.

Lavrov also added that he hoped talks in Norway would result in achieving of a generally acceptable solution to the current dispute in Venezuela.

Russia holds ground against UN ruling on Kerch Strait: Russia will continue to defend its position on its seizure of Ukrainian navy vessels and personnel in the Kerch Strait against a UN ruling for their release, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Moscow does not consider the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to be applicable to a Russian-Ukrainian confrontation last November in the Kerch Strait, Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow. Russia had seized two Ukrainian navy ships and a navy tugboat along with 24 crew members along the strait on the eastern point of the Crimean peninsula, which Russia claims as its own.

“In the case of the Kerch Strait, the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea is not applicable, our Foreign ministry has already explained this in detail. The Russian side, of course, will continue to consistently defend its point of view in this story,” he said.

Last week, the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia should release 24 Ukrainian seamen and transfer the three confiscated vessels back to Ukraine. The Tribunal called on both parties to avoid steps that could further aggravate the situation. (AA)