Arab League chief tells Iranians to ‘be careful and reverse course’

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The Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, called on the Iranians to "be careful and reverse course."

Gheit noted after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday that there were conflicting reports about how Thursday’s tanker incidents occurred.
“We believe that responsibilities need to be clearly defined,” he said. “The facts will be revealed, I am sure, it’s only a matter of time.”

Gheit told reporters that he did not believe an Arab country was “trying to obstruct naval lanes or to shoot itself in the foot by acting the way we have seen in the Gulf of Oman or in the Hormuz Strait.”

The United States blamed Iran for the attacks near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, a charge Tehran rejected.

“My call to our Iranian brothers - be careful and reverse course because you’re pushing everybody towards a confrontation that no-one would be safe if it happens,” Gheit told reporters.

Antonio Guterres called for an independent investigation to establish the facts and who was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers this week in the Gulf of Oman.

Amid the rising tensions, Guterres said he was available to mediate if the parties agreed. However, he added that “at the present moment we don’t see a mechanism of dialogue possible to be in place.”

Guterres said the world cannot afford a major confrontation in the Gulf.

“It’s very important to know the truth and it’s very important that responsibilities are clarified. Obviously that can only be done if there is an independent entity that verifies those facts,” he told reporters, adding that he believed only the Security Council could order a UN investigation.

UN political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Council meeting in Kyrgyzstan, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. He added that Guterres and his staff had been in contact with many of the countries concerned to tell them of the need to avoid any

Guterres, who condemned the attacks on the tankers, was speaking on Friday alongside Arab League Secretary-General Gheit after the pair met.

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