June 18, 2019 / 10:55 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Kuwait ruler to visit Iraq amid Gulf tensions - KUNA

(Adds details, context)

DUBAI, June 18 (Reuters) - Kuwait’s ruling emir will visit Iraq on Wednesday, state news agency KUNA reported, saying the trip comes amid escalating regional tensions after attacks on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.

Six tankers have been hit in the past month in two attacks near the Strait of Hormuz, through which almost a fifth of the world’s oil passes, and Washington and Riyadh have accused Iran of being behind them, which Tehran denies.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah’s visit “comes amid rising and unprecedented tensions and developments witnessed by the region, particularly the acts which targeted the safety of oil supplies through destruction and strikes on oil and commercial vessels”, KUNA said.

Kuwait has described the tanker attacks as a threat to international peace and security, without assigning blame.

The emir, who has worked to repair relations with Iraq following its 1990 invasion of his country, has acted as a regional mediator on various occasions. It will be his second visit to Iraq since becoming ruler, KUNA said. (Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Alison Williams and Ed Osmond)

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