After assessing its security connections, the United Arab Emirates withdrew from a U.S.-led Middle East maritime security coalition two months ago, the Gulf state announced early Wednesday.
The Combined Maritime Forces is a 34-nation task force based at the US Naval Base in Bahrain that works on security, counter-terrorism, and anti-piracy operations in the Red Sea and Gulf.
The region encompasses some of the world’s most vital maritime lanes, where there have been a number of vessel assaults since 2019 during periods of tension between the US and Iran.
“As a result of our ongoing evaluation of effective security cooperation with all partners, two months ago, the UAE withdrew its participation in the Combined Maritime Forces,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM.
It said the UAE was committed to dialogue and diplomatic engagement to advance regional security and stability, and that it was committed to ensuring navigation safety in its seas in accordance with international law.
Five weeks ago, Iran seized two tankers within a week in Gulf waters near the Strait of Hormuz. The second tanker, the Niovi, had been travelling from Dubai toward the UAE’s Fujairah port.
The UAE statement said a report by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday which, citing U.S. and Gulf sources, said the UAE was frustrated by the lack of U.S. response to the recent tanker seizures, was a “mischaracterisation” of conversations between the two countries.
The U.S. Navy and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.