Riyadh, Oct 1: James Malloy, the commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command, arrived in Riyadh over the weekend and met Saudi Arabia’s head of the naval forces, Adm. Fahad al Ghofaily, to discuss reinforcing defences against Iran and its threats, the command said.
The meeting followed Sep 14 drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Aramco oil facilities, claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Following the attack, Riyadh confirmed its participation to the United States-led international maritime coalition to protect commercial shipping in the Hormuz Strait.
Though, Houthi claimed the responsibility of the drone attack, Saudi Arabia, the US, and European powers continued blaming Tehran, which denies any involvement.
In an official statement, Malloy said, “This visit was an opportunity to discuss our mutual efforts going forward to coordinate defense against provocation and attack,” citing the benefits of vital regional united efforts to counteract the Iranian aggression.
Saudi Arabia raised security concerns post drone attacks on Aramco oil plants that has caused a considerable negative shift in the nation’s net oil export, indirectly affecting global oil prices.
The kingdom’s accession to this international alliance comes in support of regional and international efforts to deter and counter threats to maritime navigation and global trade in order to ensure global energy security and the continued flow of energy supplies to the global economy and contribute to maintain international peace and security.
On July 24, senior Iranian authorities cautioned against any attempts to establish an international alliance to secure shipping in the Gulf, with Tehran’s first vice president warning the move will just carry instability to the locale.
The reaction came after Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Italy supported a British proposal for a European maritime force after Iran captured a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Al-Jazeera news reports.