Saudi crown prince discusses regional developments with Pompeo

Adel Jubair says: "We want peace and stability in the region but we will not sit on our hands in light of the continuing Iranian attack.”
Sunday 19/05/2019
Saudi Arabia's King Salman, right meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP)
Saudi Arabia's King Salman, right meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Royal Court in Riyadh, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP)

Saudi Arabia's crown prince discussed regional developments, including efforts to strengthen security and stability, in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudi Information Ministry tweeted on Sunday.

The announcement came hours after the Saudi king invited Gulf and Arab leaders to convene emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss the implications of this week's attacks against oil installations in the kingdom and commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference Saudi Arabia wants to avert war in the region but stands ready to respond with "all strength and determination" following last week's attacks on Saudi oil assets.

"The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region nor does it seek that," Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference.

"It will do what it can to prevent this war and at the same time it reaffirms that in the event the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with all force and determination, and it will defend itself and its interests."

Saudi Arabia's Sunni Muslim ally the UAE has not blamed anyone for the tanker operation, pending an investigation. No-one has claimed responsibility, but two US government sources said last week that US officials believed Iran had encouraged the Houthi group or Iraq-based Shia militias to carry it out.

The Houthis, who are battling a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said they carried out the strike on oil pumping stations in the kingdom, which did not disrupt output or exports in the world's largest crude exporter.

A Norwegian insurers' report seen by Reuters said Iran's Revolutionary Guards were "highly likely" to have facilitated the attack on vessels near the UAE's Fujairah emirate, a main bunkering hub lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Washington has tightened economic sanctions against Iran, trying to cut Tehran's oil exports to zero, and beefed up the US military presence in the Gulf in response to what it said were Iranian threats to United States troops and interests.

"We want peace and stability in the region but we will not sit on our hands in light of the continuing Iranian attack," Jubeir said. "The ball is in Iran's court and it is up to Iran to determine what its fate will be."

He said the crew of an Iranian oil tanker that had been towed to Saudi Arabia early this month after a request for help due to engine trouble were still in the kingdom receiving the "necessary care". The crew are 24 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

(News agencies)