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Qatar Assists Talks between S. Korea, Iran over Seized Tanker

Written: 2021-01-20 18:51:16Updated: 2021-01-20 19:18:52

Qatar Assists Talks between S. Korea, Iran over Seized Tanker

Photo : YONHAP News

Qatar is reportedly assisting negotiations to free a South Korean oil tanker and its crew seized by Iran.

In an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Qatar "will facilitate negotiations if asked by stake holders and will support whoever is chosen to do so," noting that the country was already supporting talks between Seoul and Tehran to free the vessel.

He added that he hopes negotiations succeed and that Qatar would support potential talks between the United States and Iran as well.

While relations between Iran and the Gulf region's Sunni kingdoms aren't good, Tehran enjoys relatively cordial relations with Qatar and Oman.

Ties between Iran and Qatar grew even stronger after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others severed ties with Doha in June 2017 over a series of differences. Those ties were recently restored.

South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun met with the Qatari foreign minister in Qatar on Jan. 13 after visiting Iran to seek his country's assistance in freeing the tanker.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps seized the South Korean-flagged oil tanker MT Hankuk Chemi on Jan. 4. The ship was carrying a crew of 20 including five South Koreans, eleven Myanmar nationals, two Indonesians and two Vietnamese.

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