Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 October 2019

Pompeo calls Aramco attack an act of war and affirms Saudi Arabia's right to defend itself

A senior US official tells 'The National' that Riyadh and Washington are ‘on the same page’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that his government supported Saudi Arabia’s right to defend itself, calling attacks on two Aramco facilities on Saturday “unprecedented”.

Mr Pompeo, met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.

“The US stands with Saudi and supports its right to defend itself,” Mr Pompeo said. He gave a warning that the “Iranian regime’s threatening behaviour will not be tolerated”.

Earlier in the day, Mr Pompeo called the attack “an act of war”.

“We were blessed that there were no Americans killed in this attack, but anytime you have an act of war of this nature, there's always risk that could happen,” he said.

He will be travelling to Abu Dhabi on Thursday where he will meet Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

A senior US official told The National that “everyone is on the same page” when it comes to US-Saudi co-ordination, and that Riyadh is “in no rush” as it weighs its response to the attacks.

The official emphasised the dangerous and unprecedented nature of the attack “coming from the north-west side” and explained that the focus now is on collecting as much evidence as possible and submitting it to the international community and the United Nations.

He mentioned the British and the French governments as being part of this process and that “all options” are being considered.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday revealed the remnants of several rockets and drones it says were used in the attackon the kingdom’s world's largest oil-processing plant and blamed Tehran, but stopped short of saying that the attack was launched from Iranian territory.

Updated: September 19, 2019 02:22 PM

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