Saudi asks Iraq, Pak to speak to Iran about defusing tensions

Riyadh : After US President Donald Trump refuse to retaliate against Iran for the September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities, Riyadh has asked leaders of Pakistan and Iraq to speak with Iran regarding de-escalation of the situation.

In a report published on Saturday, the New York Times said that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) asked the leaders of Iraq and Pakistan to intervene.

Iran has welcomed the gesture, stating privately and publicly that it was open to talks with Saudi Arabia.

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Both the US and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for the attack on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities and warned of retaliatory action. The attack knocked out five per cent of global crude supply.

“Efforts at de-escalation must emanate from the party that began the escalation and launched attacks, not the kingdom,” said Saudi’s official in a statement.

But the NYT reported that US President Donald Trump’s refusal to order a military response “raised questions for the Saudis about the American commitment to Saudi security, which has underpinned the strategic layout of the Persian Gulf for decades”.

The report said that Iran has been trying to “wrest” the Saudis from the alliance of Tehran’s archenemies, Israel and the United States.

NYT, while quoting the unnamed Iraqi and Pakistani officials, said that MBS told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan that “I want to avoid war” and asked him to mediate. Khan visited Saudi Arabia from September 19 to 20.

When Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi visited Jeddah on September 25, the crown prince made a similar request.

The unnamed Iraqi official said that the government had suggested its capital Baghdad, as the venue for a potential meeting between Saudi and Iranian leaders.

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