KUWAIT CITY, May 14, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Monday phoned Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to condemn the sabotage acts carried out against four oil tankers near UAE territorial waters on Sunday.
In his call, His Highness the Amir denounced the sabotage acts and hoped the investigations launched by the UAE authorities would reveal the perpetrators of those acts that threaten the maritime navigation, international trade, and world energy supplies. His Highness the Amir wished the UAE and the whole region everlasting stability and security. Saudi Arabia said armed drones had struck two oil pumping stations in the kingdom on Tuesday in what it called a “cowardly” act of terrorism two days after Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The energy minister of the world’s largest oil exporter said the attack caused a fire, now contained, and minor damage at one pump station, but did not disrupt oil production or exports of crude and petroleum products. Oil prices rose on news of the attack on the stations, more than 200 miles (320 km) west of the capital Riyadh. Brent was trading at $71.07 a barrel by 1347 GMT, up 1.20%. Energy Minister Khalid al- Falih, in comments run by state media, said the drone attack and Sunday’s sabotage of four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, off Fujairah emirate, a major bunkering hub, threatened global oil supplies.
“These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran,” Falih said in an English-language statement issued by his ministry. Houthi-run Masirah TV earlier said the group had launched drone attacks on “vital” Saudi installations in response to “continued aggression and blockade” on Yemen.
A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for four years in Yemen to try to restore the internationally recognised government, in a confl ict widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Houthis have repeatedly launched drone and missile attacks on Saudi cities, but two Saudi sources told Reuters this was the first time an Aramco facility was hit by drones. State-run Aramco said it had temporarily shut down the East- West pipeline, known as Petroline, to evaluate its condition.
The pipeline mainly transports crude from the kingdom’s eastern fields to Yanbu port, which lies north of Bab al-Mandeb. The attacks occur amid a war of words between Washington and Tehran over sanctions and US military presence in the region. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday that neither the United States nor Iran want war, adding that Iraq is in contact with both, state news agency INA reported.
The US ambassador to Saudi Arabia said Washington should take what he called “reasonable responses short of war” after it had determined who was behind attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iran was a prime suspect in the sabotage on Sunday although Washington had no conclusive proof, a US official familiar with American intelligence said on Monday. Iran has denied involvement.