08:19 GMT25 February 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Kuwaiti Port Authority (KPA) and Defence Ministry signed a cooperation protocol on measures for ensuring nationwide protection of the country's ports by Navy amid growing escalation in the Persian Gulf, the KPA Director General Yusuf Abdullah Sabah said on Saturday.

    On Thursday, US Army Gen. Mark Milley said the United States and its allies were discussing providing military escorts for oil tankers in the Persian Gulf after Iran allegedly attempted to seize a UK oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz.

    "The protocol was signed at a time the region is experiencing a critical security condition. Therefore we need collaboration of efforts between the two sides [KPA and Navy] in order to maintain security of Kuwaiti sea ports, and to make sure we are ready for any emergency," Sabah said, as cited by the KUNA news agency.

    The agreement provides for military training of Kuwaiti Navy forces to tow and guide ships on their way to or from the country's ports, Sabah added.

    On Wednesday, US media reported that the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attempted to seize a UK oil tanker near the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied the reports, noting that the claims aimed to escalate tensions. The IRGC said its ships had no encounters with foreign vessels at the time of the alleged incident.

    The situation in the region initially deteriorated in May after four oil tankers were targeted by sabotage attacks off the United Arab Emirates' coast, and the United States blamed Iran for the incidents.

    Two more oil tankers were hit in June by explosions in the Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Gulf of Oman with the Persian Gulf. The United States once again accused Iran of staging the attack and Tehran denied the accusations.


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