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Senior U.S. diplomat to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE

(Xinhua)

09:09, December 31, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman will travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next week, the State Department announced in a statement on Friday.

During her visit in the Gulf region from next Tuesday to Thursday, Sherman will "consult with senior Saudi and Emirati officials on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues," said the statement.

The statement said that these meetings will serve as an opportunity to discuss ongoing developments in the region, including political, economic, security and other issues of mutual concern.

"Under Secretary Sherman's trip further illustrates the robust strategic relationship the United States shares with both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," the statement added.

Last Saturday, the Iranian navy launched a 10-day exercise, dubbed Velayat 90, which covers a length of 2,000 km stretching from the east of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden.

Iran's top officials had threatened to seal off the Strait of Hormuz if the West imposes sanctions on its oil exports.

The U.S. Department of Defense on Wednesday warned Iran against any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the world's most important oil passage.

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