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Trump condemns drone attacks, offers support for Saudi self-defense

16 September 2019 AFP, Washington
Trump condemns drone attacks, offers support for Saudi self-defense

Trump affirmed Washington\'s readiness to cooperate with Saudi to support its security and stability.


US President Donald Trump on Saturday condemned drone attacks at two Saudi Aramco oil facilities that reportedly disrupted production and marked a new escalation in regional tensions with Iran.
Trump Offers Support for Saudi Self-Defense in Call With Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
President Donald Trump offered U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's self-defense in a call on Saturday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the White House said.
The pair spoke after a swarm of explosive drones hit key oil-industry targets in Saudi Arabia. The state-run Saudi Press Agency earlier reported on the call.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the strikes, which forced Saudi Aramco to cut daily oil production in half.
The U.S. "strongly condemns today's attack on critical energy infrastructure," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an emailed statement that was also posted on Twitter. The U.S. government "is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied."
"The United States strongly condemns today's attack on critical energy infrastructure. Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust," the White House said in a statement following a phone call between Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Trump offered Prince Mohammed "his support for Saudi Arabia's self-defense," the White House said, following an earlier statement from Riyadh saying the crown prince told Trump the kingdom was ""willing and able" to respond to the attacks blamed on Yemeni rebels.
"The United States Government is monitoring the situation and remains committed to ensuring global oil markets are stable and well supplied," the US statement said.
Later, the White House said that the United States was committed to keeping oil markets well-supplied in the wake of an attack on Saudi Arabian oil plants by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group.
"The United States strongly condemns today's attack on critical energy infrastructure," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
"Violent actions against civilian areas and infrastructure vital to the global economy only deepen conflict and mistrust."
Deere confirmed that Trump had spoken earlier with Crown Prince Mohammed.
Saudi Arabia said Saturday it was ready to respond to drone attacks claimed by Iran-aligned Yemeni rebels on two major oil facilities, which severely disrupted production as Washington blamed Tehran for the strike.
The Crown Prince "underscored the Kingdom willingness and strength to thwart such a terrorist aggression and deal with its consequences."
The Arab coalition, which supports the internationally-recognized Yemeni government, said investigations were ongoing to determine those responsible for "planning and executing these terrorist attacks."
"The Coalition continues to adopt and implement necessary procedures to deal with such terrorist threats in order to safeguard national assets, international energy security and ensure stability of world economy," spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.
The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid said the US "strongly condemns" the drone attacks on Aramco facilities in Abqaiq and Kurais. He added that the attacks "endanger civilians" and "are unacceptable."
The strikes sparked fires at the state-owned Aramco oil plants and prompted furious condemnation from the top US diplomat who blamed Tehran for the strike.
Huge palls of smoke rose into the sky after the pre-dawn attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais, two key Aramco facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia as the giant prepares for a much-anticipated stock listing.
The drones triggered multiple explosions, forcing state-owned Aramco to temporarily suspend production at the two facilities, interrupting about half of the company's total output, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said.

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