King Salman of Saudi Arabia Calls Gulf and Arab leaders Emergency Meeting Amid War Threats Between USA and Iran.
Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi state minister of foreign affairs, says the ball is in Iran’s court to determine its fate.
Saudi Arabia Calls Gulf and Arab leaders Emergency Meeting Amid War Threats Between USA and Iran
“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 King Salman on Sunday invited Gulf and Arab leaders to convene emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss implications of the attacks.
“The current critical circumstances entail a unified Arab and Gulf stance toward the besetting challenges and risks,” the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement.
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 news agency 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 US troops and interests. It has not offered details of the nature of the threat.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed regional developments, including efforts to strengthen security and stability, in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudi Media Ministry tweeted on Sunday.
“We want peace and stability in the region but we will not sit on our hands in light of the continuing Iranian attack,” al-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.
Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran are arch-adversaries in the Middle East, backing opposite sides in several regional wars.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has dismissed the possibility of war erupting, saying Tehran did not want conflict and no country had the “illusion it can confront Iran”.
In a sign of the heightened tension, Exxon Mobil evacuated foreign staff from an oilfield in neighbouring Iraq.
Bahrain on Saturday warned its citizens against travel to Iraq and Iran and asked those already there to return.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an advisory to US commercial airliners flying over the waters of the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to exercise caution.