Mike Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia following attacks

The US State Department said that Pompeo will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the attack and "coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression."

September 19, 2019 17:50
2 minute read.
Mike Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia following attacks

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo walks after stepping off his plane upon arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019. (photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/POOL/REUTERS)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States supports Saudi Arabia's "right to defend itself" and that Iran's behavior would "not be tolerated," in a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a statement on his official Twitter account on Thursday.

Pompeo condemned the attacks and supported the kingdom's call for international experts to come to the country to further investigate, Saudi Arabia's state news agency SPA said in a separate report on the meeting.

In the meeting, the prince stressed that the attacks on state oil company Saudi Aramco were aimed at destabilizing the region's security and damaging the global energy supply and economy, SPA reported.

Following the strikes on Saudi Arabia's Aramaco oil facilities, Pompeo flew to Jeddah on Wednesday to "meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the recent attack on the Kingdom’s oil facilities and coordinate efforts to counter Iranian aggression in the region," The State Department said in a statement.

Pompeo called the attack "an act of war" and said that even if the Yemeni Houthis' "fraudulent" responsibility claims were true, "it doesn't change the fingerprints of the Ayatollah as having put at risk the global energy supply," Fox News reported.

The US blames Iran for the attack, even though the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen took responsibility.

Trump described the US as "locked and loaded," and ready to respond.

Later, Vice President Mike Pence echoed Trump's comments in a speech saying, "We are locked and loaded, and we are ready to defend our interests," according to USA Today.

Since the attack on Saturday, tensions between the US and Iran have increased. Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he "instructed the Secretary of the Treasury [Steven Mnuchin] to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran."

After his visit to Saudi Arabia, Pompeo will go to Abu Dhabi to meet with United Arab Emirates Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, to "discuss regional and bilateral issues," the State Department said.

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