MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter
© Reuters / US Navy
Russia has unveiled its Concept of Collective Security in the Persian Gulf, outlining arms control, joint anti-terrorist efforts and giving up on foreign military presence as keys conditions for stability in the turbulent region.

The concept singled out security in the Persian Gulf as "one of the prime regional problems of today." The document, presented by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov at the Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Tuesday, with diplomats from Iran, Gulf Arab States, the US, UK, China, EU and other countries in attendance, noted that tensions in the strategic area, which have remained high over the past several decades, threaten the political and economic wellbeing on a global scale.

Collective security (including Russia, China & India)

Moscow believes that the creation of a mechanism of collective security and cooperation in the Persian Gulf, with an equal involvement of all regional players, would be an adequate answer to the challenges. Such an international body could also include Russia, China, the US, EU and India as observers or associated members.

Transparent rules of engagement...

In order for this happen, the Gulf States should reject the use of force, respect each other's sovereignty, stand by their international obligations and solve all possible disputes solely at the negotiating table. Dialogue and transparency must be achieved between the militaries of the countries in the region, including the establishment of hotlines and warnings about upcoming drills and plane flights, the document pointed out.

... without foreign military meddling

"Giving up on permanent deployment of military groupings of non-regional states on the territory of the Persian Gulf" was listed among the most important conditions for stability.

Arms control treaties, aimed at establishing demilitarized zones and preventing the accumulation of destabilizing amounts of weaponry by various parties, must be signed between the regional players. In line with Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, they should also work to make the Gulf "an area free from weapons of mass destruction."

Joint anti-terrorism effort...

Moscow also expressed belief that the Gulf nations must counter terrorism, illegal arms trade as well as drug- and human trafficking together. Bogdanov also urged the resolution of conflicts in Syria, Yemen and the "chronic" Israeli-Palestinian dispute, as they fuel the recruitment of extremists.

...instead of one-sided anti-Iran coalitions

While Russia is looking for ways to calm the tensions in the Gulf, the UK has just called for a "European-led maritime protection" mission to be sent to the area to support safe passage of commercial ships. The statement came as Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, two weeks after the confiscation of a ship carrying Iranian oil off the coast of Gibraltar by UK forces.

The US has announced its own Operation Sentinel to patrol the entrances to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, and is currently in talks with its European, Asian and regional allies to persuade them to join.

The US and EU can lawfully carry out such patrol missions only "if they operate in international waters," not within the territorial waters of any of the Gulf State, maritime lawyer David McInnes told RT. However, the possibility of violations and various incidents can't be totally excluded because "the Strait of Hormuz is quite narrow."

The last several months have been especially tense, as Washington intensified its pressure on Tehran. With the US military presence beefed up, the fears of war almost materialized after US blamed Tehran for attacks on oil tankers and Iran shot down a US surveillance drone. President Donald Trump said he'd even ordered airstrikes in retaliation, but had called them off at the last moment.