September 21, 2019 / 2:29 PM / 25 days ago

Saudi Arabia to wait for investigation before responding to attacks: minister

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will wait for the results of an investigation before responding to last weekend’s attack on its oil facilities, for which it believes Iran is responsible, a senior official said on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks at a briefing with reporters in London, Britain June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told reporters that the probe, which Riyadh has invited international investigators to join, would prove that the Sept. 14 strikes came from the north.

“It was done with Iranian weapons, therefore we hold Iran accountable for this attack...” Jubeir told a news conference, declining to speculate about specific actions. “The kingdom will take the appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation, to ensure its security and stability.”

Riyadh has rejected a claim by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement that it carried out the strikes on two oil plants that initially halved Saudi production, the largest-ever assault on oil facilities in the world’s top oil exporter.

“We are certain that the launch did not come from Yemen, it came from the north,” Jubeir said. “The investigations will prove that.”

The kingdom has already said the investigation so far shows that Iranian weapons were used and the attack originated from the north, and that it was working to pinpoint the exact launch location.

It sees the strikes on its Khurais and Abqaiq facilities as a test of global will to preserve international order and will likely make its case at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

Saudi Arabia is consulting with its allies to “take the necessary steps”, Jubeir said, urging the world to take a stand.

“The kingdom calls upon the international community to assume its responsibility in condemning those that stand behind this act, and to take a firm and clear position against this reckless behavior that threatens the global economy,” he said.

“The Iranian position is to try to divide the world and in that it is not succeeding.”

The United States this week imposed more sanctions on Iran and approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi air and missile defenses, which failed to thwart the Sept. 14 attacks. The deployment could further aggravate Iran, which has responded to previous U.S. troop deployments this year with apprehension.

Asked about the deployment, Jubeir said: “...The challenges that we’re facing now call for enhancing security cooperation between the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its allies and partners...”

Reporting by Stephen Kalin in Riyadh; Additional reporting by Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Ros Russell

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