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Montevideo, July 20th 2024 - 09:49 UTC

 

 

US ready for a response to attack on Saudi oil facilities; China and Russia call for restrain

Tuesday, September 17th 2019 - 09:49 UTC
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“We have a lot of options,” Trump told reporters, saying there was no rush to react and that talks with allies would come first. “We have a lot of options,” Trump told reporters, saying there was no rush to react and that talks with allies would come first.
“I'm not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to; that was a very large attack, and it could be met by an attack many, many times larger” “I'm not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to; that was a very large attack, and it could be met by an attack many, many times larger”

The United States readied its response on Monday to the “unprecedented” attack on Saudi oil facilities as President Donald Trump said Iran was likely to blame, fanning new fears of conflict in the Gulf region.

Trump said he was ready to help key ally Saudi Arabia counter the weekend drone attacks, which triggered a record leap in global prices, but would await a “definitive” determination on who was responsible.

“We have a lot of options,” the US leader told reporters, saying there was no rush to react and that talks with allies would come first.

“I'm not looking to get into new conflict, but sometimes you have to,” he said. “That was a very large attack, and it could be met by an attack many, many times larger.”

After meeting with Trump, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also singled out Iran as a regional destabilizing force, while stopping short of directly accusing Tehran over the strike.

The US military, he said, is working with its partners to “address this unprecedented attack and defend the international rules-based order that is being undermined by Iran”.

Details of the Saturday strikes on Abqaiq - the world's largest oil processing facility - and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia remained unclear, but left crude oil output by the world's top exporter slashed in half.

The Iran-supported Huthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, which likely involved, according to reports, both drones and cruise missiles that struck their targets with surprising accuracy.

But some analysts said it appeared the weapons were fired not from Yemen in the south but from other directions.

In Riyadh officials said the attack involved “Iranian weapons,” but likewise fell short of directly accusing their regional arch-rival.

“The Kingdom condemns this egregious crime, which threatens international peace and security, and affirms that the primary target of this attack are global energy supplies, as this attack is in line with the previous attacks against Saudi Aramco pumping stations using Iranian weapons,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

At a press conference in Ankara, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the attacks were an act of self-defense by the Huthis, against the Saudi-led forces conducting an air campaign against them since 2015.

“Yemen is the target of daily bombings ... The people of Yemen have been forced to respond, they are only defending themselves,” Rouhani said.

After Trump's weekend statement that the US was “locked and loaded” to respond, Russia and China both called on Monday for restraint, amid worries the situation could escalate and put a large portion of the world's energy supplies at risk.

“We oppose all actions that enlarge or intensify conflict,” China's foreign ministry said, while the Kremlin urged “all countries to avoid hasty steps or conclusions that could exacerbate the situation.”

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