Saudi Arabia calls for emergency meeting with GCC, Arab League amid Gulf tension

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has called for an emergency meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and the leaders of Arab League countries to discuss the security issues of the region and measures to enhance it, the state media reported late on Saturday.

Gulf News cited a Saudi Press Agency (SPA), which reported after quoting the Saudi Foreign Ministry that Saudi Arabia has invited Gulf leaders and Arab states to two emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss recent “aggressions and their consequences” in the region.

The meeting has been called following the attack on commercial maritime ships in the territorial waters off the coast of United Arab Emirates (UAE), last Sunday, and the Iran-backed Houthi militias’ attacks on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia two days later.

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Concerns about a possible conflict in the Gulf have flared up since Washington ordered carrier strike warships and B-52 bombers off the coast of Fujairah in the UAE. Pentagon said the deployment was in response to “indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and interests.

On Friday, the GCC, including Saudi Arabia, approved Washington’s request to deploy more military forces in the waters of the Arabian Gulf. The approval came on the basis of bilateral agreements between Washington and Gulf countries.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, earlier in the day, told reporters here, “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region nor does it seek that.”

“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,” Al Jazeera quoted al-Jubeir as saying.

In the press conference, the Saudi Minister further accused Iran of committing “countless crimes” including seeking to destabilize the region. He also urged the international community to take responsibility to stop the Islamic republic from doing so, Gulf News reported.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to prevent shipping in Hormuz in case of a military confrontation with the United States, which has imposed sanctions on Tehran in recent months.


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