UAE official: Saudi Aramco attacks are a dangerous escalation

FILE PHOTO: UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash is seen during preparatory meeting for the GCC, Arab and Islamic summits in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Waleed Ali

DUBAI (Reuters) - Attacks on oil plants in Saudi Arabia are a dangerous escalation and the international community should stand by Riyadh and ensure regional stability, a senior United Arab Emirates official said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia said initial findings indicated Saturday’s attacks that cut half the kingdom’s oil output were carried out with Iranian weapons. Riyadh said it was capable of responding forcefully and urged U.N. experts to help investigate the raid.

“Justifying the unprecedented terrorist attack on Aramco facilities on the basis of developments on the Yemen war is completely unacceptable,” Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a tweet, responding to Iranian comments that the strikes were carried out by Yemenis in response to the war.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed the attacks and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the strikes were carried out by “Yemeni people” retaliating for attacks by a Saudi-led military coalition in the more than four-year war with the Houthis.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said it looked like Iran was behind the attacks. Iran rejects this.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, which includes the UAE, said preliminary findings showed the attack did not come from Yemen and that authorities were investigating where it did originate from.

Reporting by Asma Alsharif; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Lincoln Feast