The United Arab Emirates has announced joining a US-led force to protect Gulf shipping in the wake of soaring tensions with Iran following twin attacks on key Saudi oil facilities.
In a statement, Salem Mohammed al-Zaabi, director of its international security cooperation department, said "the UAE's accession to the alliance comes in support of regional and international efforts to deter threats to maritime navigation and global trade.”
Zaabi said the UAE joined "in order to secure the flow of energy supplies to the global economy and contribute to maintaining international peace and security.
The United States has pushed for the creation of the International Maritime Security Construct to safeguard trade and the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. It has so far been joined by Australia and Britain as well as Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia joined the coalition on Wednesday. However, European countries have declined to join the US-led maritime force, fearing that they would harm efforts to rescue a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement.
Tensions have risen further since Saturday when twin attacks blamed by Washington and Riyadh on Tehran hit the world's largest oil processing plant and a major oilfield in Saudi Arabia.
Iran has repeatedly denied it was responsible. However, the Iran-backed Yemeni rebels have claimed responsibility.