Saudi Arabia joins US-led maritime coalition after 'Iran oil attacks'
Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it joined a US-led coalition to secure the Middle East's waterways amid threats from Tehran after an attack targeting its crucial oil industry.
The kingdom's decision to enter the International Maritime Security Construct came ahead of a planned visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Saudi officials separately planned to share information about the weapons used to attack a Saudi oil field and the world's largest crude oil processing plant Saturday.
"The Kingdom's decision to participate is based on its declared support for regional and international efforts to deter threats to maritime safety," a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said, quoting an unnamed official.
"The kingdom will work with its allies to ensure the security of energy routes and the continued flow of supplies to the global economy, and to maintain international peace and security."
Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have claimed the attack, but the US and Saudi Arabia say they suspect Iran carried out the assault.
|[Click to enlarge]|
The weekend strikes on Abqaiq - the world's largest oil processing facility - and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia roiled energy markets and revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Gulf region.
Australia, Bahrain and the UK have already joined the mission.
The coalition aims to secure the broader Persian Gulf region, but critics have accused it of being an anti-Iran military alliance.
Agencies contributed to this report.