DESPARDES News Monitor – Saudi Arabia wants to avert war in the region but stands ready to respond with “all strength and determination”, a senior official said, adding that the ball was now in Iran’s court.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want a war in the region nor does it seek that,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference on Sunday.
“It will do what it can to prevent this war and at the same time it reaffirms that in the event the other side chooses war, the kingdom will respond with all force and determination, and it will defend itself and its interests.”
A senior Iranian military commander was similarly quoted as saying his country is not looking for war, in comments published in Iranian media on Sunday.
Al-Jubeir’s comments came after last week’s attacks on Saudi oil assets, and days after four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Iran has denied it was behind the attacks which come as Washington and the Islamic republic spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has invited Gulf and Arab leaders for emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss implications of the attacks.
The US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, in a statement about increased maritime patrols, said Gulf countries were “specifically increasing communication and coordination with each other in support of regional naval cooperation and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf”.
Their navies and coastguards working with the US Navy, it said.
Earlier this week, Kuwait said it was ‘ready’ in case of regional war.
The current situation in the region due to rising tensions between the US and Iran, is “perilous”, head of the Kuwaiti parliament Marzouq Al Ghanem said on Thursday following a crisis meeting with government officials.