Pompeo asks allies to step up on Iran surveillance

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday (June 24th) encouraged Saudi Arabia and the UAE to do more to ensure maritime surveillance with Iran, which days earlier shot down an American drone, AFP reported.

Pompeo flew to the US allies just as President Donald Trump called for Asian nations in particular to share more of the cost of security in the oil-rich Gulf.

Pompeo, meeting with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, said he was hoping that more than 20 countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, would work together on building maritime security.

"We will need you all to participate, your military folks," Pompeo said.

In a joint statement, the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE alongside Britain backed a call by Trump for talks with Iran, while renewing concern about the country's actions.

"We call on Iran to halt any further actions which threaten regional stability, and urge diplomatic solutions to de-escalate tensions," said the statement released by the US on Monday.

A US official said that Pompeo's coalition concept, which is in its infancy, could involve foreign militaries but that their task would be to observe, not to escort commercial ships.

"It's not about shooting at people. It's about shooting pictures of Iranians," said the official traveling with Pompeo.

"We have to build a coalition to prevent what the Iranians are doing in the Gulf, which is to inhibit or undermine the freedom of commerce and trade and freedom of navigation," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The coalition would provide "both material and financial" support "to have eyes on all the shipping", the official said.

The UN Security Council on Monday also called for dialogue and measures to end tensions in the Gulf.

The council said all concerned parties and all countries in the region must "exercise maximum restraint and take measures and actions to reduce escalation and tension".

"Council members urge that differences must be addressed peacefully and through dialogue," said the statement backed by both Russia and the US.

Britain, France and Germany separately called for "de-escalation and dialogue, with full respect for international rules".

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