UAE condemns Houthi attack on Saudi gas facility

Saudi Aramco’s Shaybah, Natural Gas Liquids plant where a Houthi drone struck, causing a small fire. (File/Ian Timberlake/AFP)
Updated 18 August 2019

UAE condemns Houthi attack on Saudi gas facility

  • UAE: Terrorist act aims at destabilizing security and stability
  • Houthis claim responsibility for the attack on the plant

JEDDAH: A failed attempt by Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen to destroy a Saudi gas plant near the UAE border was “cowardly sabotage,” the Kingdom’s energy minister said on Saturday.

The Houthis claimed 10 drones struck the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction plant in a “massive” attack, which was also “a warning to the UAE.”

The UAE has condemned the attack, with the country’s foreign affairs ministry strongly condemning “this terrorist act, which aims at destabilizing security and stability and poses a grave threat to the world’s energy supply.”

In a statement, the UAE reiterated its full solidarity with the Kingdom’s government and people, affirming support of all measures taken by Saudi authorities to secure the country’s security and stability, as well as any actions taken in the face of extremism and terrorism.

“The security of the United Arab Emirates and that of Saudi Arabia are indivisible, and any threat or danger facing the Kingdom is considered as a threat to the security and stability system in the UAE,” the UAE foreign ministry said.

Saudi Aramco said their response teams had “controlled a limited fire” at the facility. “There were no injuries and no interruptions to Saudi Aramco’s oil operations,” the company said.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said: “This terrorist sabotage follows a series of actions, including attacks against oil tankers, aimed at disrupting international oil supplies.

“These acts are not only aimed at Saudi Arabia but also against the global economy.”

The Houthis’ actions showed their contempt for the Swedish peace process aimed at resolving the conflict in Yemen, Dr. Theodore Karasik, senior adviser to Gulf State Analytics in Washington, DC, told Arab News.

“One would think the Houthis would like to show a better face to the international public, instead of lashing out daily with potentially deadly results,” Karasik said.

“It is in itself a crime that more efforts are not devoted to getting the Houthis to cease this campaign, which breaks international laws and threatens global civil aviation and energy.”

Karasik cautioned that the Houthis were benefiting from upgraded Iranian missile and drone technology. Some of the modifications were minor but effective, he said. 

“It only illustrates the criminality of those who produce and use such weapons.”


Preventive protocols issued as Saudi Arabia moves to relax curfew further

Updated 30 May 2020

Preventive protocols issued as Saudi Arabia moves to relax curfew further

RIYADH: As Saudi Arabia moved closer to Phase 2 of the gradual relaxation of coronavirus lockdown rules, the Ministry of Interior announced precautionary measures and preventive protocols for several sectors to follow.

The preventive protocols, prepared by the Ministry of Health,  covers the period from 8 Shawwal to 28 Shawwal 1441 in the Hijri calendar, corresponding to May 31 to June 20, 2020 in the Gregorian calendar.

A ministry official said the protocols are provided for mosques;  the public; petroleum, petrochemical and gas and other industries; malls and retail centers, home delivery service, among others.

The preventive protocols can be found at: https://covid19awareness.sa/archives/5460.

The MOI urged all citizens, expatriates and concerned authorities "to implement these procedures and abide by their provisions in order to preserve the safety of all".

Also on Saturday, the acting minister of economy and planning, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan, said the gradual lifting of the curfew "represents a new stage in the face of the global pandemic crisis and towards a gradual return to economic activities in the Kingdom to its normal levels."
 
"The decisions were taken after continuous coordination between the Ministry of Health and the concerned authorities, relying on a focused plan that seeks to balance between procedures for reopening economic activities and maintaining the stability of health and social conditions," said Jadaan, who is also the Kingdom's minister of finance.

Al-Jadaan highlighted that the government has increased – during the last period through the state’s general budget – spending on urgent and necessary requirements to face the crisis.

It has significantly strengthened the financial allocations for the Health and related services sector.

The government also launched urgent support initiatives to mitigate the impact on the private sector, supporting the economy and to preserve the jobs of citizens in economic establishments, he said in a statement carried by the SPA.