Saudi Cabinet: Houthi attacks branded ‘war crimes’

King Salman chairs the Cabinet’s session in Jeddah on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 26 June 2019

Saudi Cabinet: Houthi attacks branded ‘war crimes’

  • Coalition has right to take all steps in defense, say ministers

JEDDAH: The recent wave of deadly terrorist attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi militants on civilian targets in the Kingdom were on Tuesday branded as “war crimes” by the Saudi Cabinet.
A ministerial council meeting, chaired by King Salman, condemned ballistic missile and drone raids, which it said presented a major threat to regional and international security.
In the wake of Sunday’s second terror strike this month on Abha International Airport, which killed a Syrian national and left 21 civilians injured, ministers stressed the right of the coalition to take all necessary measures to deal with the attacks under international laws.
The Cabinet session, held in Jeddah, welcomed a joint statement by the US, the UK, the UAE and Saudi Arabia expressing concern over rising tensions in the region caused by the “dangerous” peace-destabilizing activities of Iran in Yemen, the Kingdom and throughout the region.
Ministers offered their condolences to family members of the Syrian who died during Sunday’s Houthi attack on Abha airport in the south of the country and wished a speedy recovery to the people wounded in the strike.
In other business, the Cabinet highlighted the final communique of an emergency meeting of Arab finance ministers, which pledged their commitment to providing a safety net to support the Palestinian authority’s budget to the tune of $100 million each month.
The Kingdom was also thanked for its continued backing for the Palestinian cause.
Meanwhile, in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, Minister of Media Turki Al-Shabanah said the Cabinet emphasized that the choice of Saudi Arabia to become the first Arab country to be granted full membership of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, was due to its efforts in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Cabinet session also gave the green light to the Saudi culture minister to discuss two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on cooperation with his counterparts in South Korea and Japan.
The chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) was authorized to hold similar talks on MoUs with his opposite numbers in the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

Updated 15 September 2019

Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

  • Aramco says no staff injured in attacks
  • Aramco is currently working on restoring the lost quantities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said drones that attacked Saudi Aramco installations had caused an interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies and threaten the world economy.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said as a result of the terrorist acts, oil production in Abqaiq and Khurais was knocked out temporarily and that estimates show that 50 percent of the company’s production had been interrupted.

Part of the decrease will be compensated to clients through reserves, Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement carried on the Saudi Press Agency.

The newly appointed minister confirmed there were no injuries to staff at the locations targeted, adding that the company is still assessing the resulting damage.

The attacks not only target the Kingdom’s vital installations, but also target the international oil supply and threaten its security, he said, and are a threat to the world economy. 

The blasts took place at 3:31am and 3:42am at the two locations, both in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, causing fires that were brought under control by emergency services.

The drone attacks, at the world’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq and at an oilfield in Khurais, highlight the importance of the international community to protect energy supply against “all terrorist sides that carry out, support and finance such cowardly disruptive acts,” the statement said.

He said that these blasts also knocked out the production of 2bn cubic feet of associated gas daily, used to produce 700,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, which will lead to an approximate 50 percent decrease of Ethane and natural gas liquids supply.

The statement said the company is currently working on restoring the lost quantities, and will present updated information within the next 48 hours.

World leaders condemned the attacks on Saudi Arabia on Saturday and those behind the terrorist acts. 

Donald Trump called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reassert his country's “readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom, by all means conducive to maintain its security and stability.”

The Crown Prince "underscored the Kingdom willingness and strength to thwart such a terrorist aggression and deal with its consequences,” SPA reported on Saturday.

The UAE said it “condemns this act of terrorism and sabotage and considers it as a new evidence of the terrorist groups’ attempts to undermine the security and stability of the region as a whole.”

“The Houthis must stop undermining Saudi Arabia’s security by threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure,” said the British government.

“The US strongly condemns today’s drone attacks. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost,” said the US envoy in Riyadh John Abizaid.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was emphatic about the need to condemn Iranian aggression, specifically on Saudi Arabia, and the need to ensure the security of world energy supplies.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” he tweeted, “We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression”

The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, said they had carried out the attacks and that 10 drones had been used.