Riyadh: Amid the ongoing tensions with Iran, intensified after last week’s attacks on Saudi oil tankers, the Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that the country will do its best to avoid war, but stands ready to respond with “full force and determination.”
“Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region, does not seek it and will do everything in its power to prevent this war. At the same time, it confirms that if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with full force and determination and will defend itself and its interests,” said Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
On May 12, two oil tankers from Saudi Arabia and two other vessels were targeted in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) exclusive economic zone. Even though no one has claimed responsibility for the sabotage, the United States has reportedly suggested that sanctions-battered Iran, which has now entered a new phase of tensions with Washington, might have been behind the attack, reported Sputnik.
Two days later, Yemen’s Houthi rebels carried out drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities, causing minor damage to one of the pumps of Saudi’s Aramco’s cross-country pipeline. In retaliation, the Saudi-led coalition carried out airstrikes in a residential area of Yemen’s capital Sanaa. The retaliatory airstrikes claimed the lives of six people and wounded many others.
In the wake of these developments, Saudi King Salman has urged the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League to gather for extraordinary summits in the city of Mecca on May 30
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 U.S. 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.
The main objective of the move is to allow Washington and Gulf nations to work together to deter any aggression or military threat from Iran against its neighbours or US interests in the region, sources familiar with news said.