Saudi Arabia consults allies on oil attack, awaits result of investigation: official

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is in consultation “with friends and allies about the next steps to take” after a Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, but is waiting for the findings of an investigation, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told reporters on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir speaks during a news conference with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have blamed the attack on Iran, instead of the Yemeni Iran-aligned Houthi group that claimed responsibility. Iran distanced itself from the attacks, but said it was ready for “full-fledged” war.

“This cannot go unanswered, there has to be consequences for Iran for what they did,” Jubeir told a United Against Nuclear Iran conference.

The attack on the heartland of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry damaged the world’s biggest petroleum-processing facility and knocked out more than 5% of global oil supply.

“The United Nations sent people to be part of the investigation, other countries have sent experts to be part of the investigation,” Jubeir told reporters earlier on Wednesday on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

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“When the team that’s investigating has concluded its investigations we will make the announcements publicly,” he said.

U.N. experts monitoring Security Council sanctions on Iran and Yemen traveled to Saudi Arabia days after the attack. But their reports to the U.N. Security Council are not due until December and January respectively.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reports twice a year to the Security Council on the implementation of an arms embargo on Iran and other restrictions that remained in place after Tehran agreed a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.

A separate independent panel also reports twice a year to the U.N. Security Council on the implementation of sanctions related to the conflict in Yemen that were imposed in 2014 and 2015.

France also sent seven military experts to investigate this weekend’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities, including specialists in explosives, missile trajectory and ground-to-air defense systems, a defense ministry spokeswoman has said.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Humeyra Pamuk; editing by Grant McCool