WASHINGTON – United States’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman met on Wednesday in Jeddah to coordinate a response to the “unprecedented” attack on the kingdom’s oil refineries for which they blame Iran.
Pompeo and bin Salman “agreed that this was an unacceptable and unprecedented attack that not only threatened Saudi Arabian national security, but... the world’s energy supply in general,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
The leaders also agreed on “the need for the international community to come together to counter the continued threat of the Iranian regime and agreed that the Iranian regime must be held accountable for its continued aggressive, reckless, and threatening behavior,” the statement said.
On Saturday, two refineries of the Saudi state oil company Aramco, key to the global supply of crude oil, were attacked with drones causing a reduction of about 50% of their production.
The attack was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, but the coalition of states against it led by Saudi Arabia and the US argue the weapons used were Iranian. Tehran has denied responsibility.
Parallel to Pompeo’s visit, Middle East Strategic Alliance partners Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the US held meetings Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington.
In a joint statement, MESA partners reported that during the meetings they addressed the attack against Saudi refineries “sought to disrupt oil markets and regional stability.”
“The attack underscores the continuing importance of cooperation between the MESA partners to strengthen regional security, peace, and stability, promote and expand economic opportunities, and strengthen and secure critical energy sectors,” they said.