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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Royal Navy boarding 'will resume'
Lord Triesman
Lord Triesman said security in the Gulf must be maintained
Royal Navy boarding operations in the Gulf will eventually resume despite the recent stand-off with Iran, a Foreign Office minister has said.

Such operations were suspended after 15 Royal Navy personnel were held by Iran for 13 days.

But minister Lord Triesman said on BBC Radio that the waters had to be kept secure and operations would resume "in the middle or long term".

The Royal Navy has said it is holding a complete review into the incident.

Lord Triesman said on Radio 4's The World This weekend: "I think those waters have got to be kept secure. I don't take it that boarding operations will have to cease in the middle or long term at all.

"The oil platforms have got to be secured; we have got to make sure that dangerous material is not smuggled into southern Iraq. I don't think the Iranians should be under any doubt that we could not allow that to happen."

Questions raised

The Navy personnel were captured by Iranian patrol boats after they conducted a routine search of a merchant ship in the northern Gulf off Iraq.

There have been subsequent questions over the positioning of mother ship, HMS Cornwall, and over why the ship's Lynx helicopter, which was flying overhead, pulled out just before they were seized.

Discussing negotiations with Iran, Lord Triesman said that the disclosure that Tehran had put forward two different sets of co-ordinates where it claimed the incident took place - the first actually inside Iraqi territorial waters - had undermined their position internationally.

He said that information had ensured the Iranian position essentially lost credibility, and he added that international pressure was crucial.




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