US-Saudi Arabia discuss defence ties & regional security amid escalated Gulf tensions with Iran

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Riyadh, Oct 10: Saudi Arabia’s deputy defence minister said on Wednesday he discussed military cooperation and regional security with top-level United States government officials in the midst of escalated tensions with Iran following September’s terror attacks on Riyadh’s Aramco oil facilities.

Though Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed the responsibility, Riyadh and the US blamed common rival Tehran for the Sep 14 terror attack on Saudi oil plants – a charge Iran denies.

In a tweet, Saudi Arabia’s vice defence minister Prince Khalid bin Salman, a brother of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MbS), said he held a meeting with Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, and US defence secretary Mark Esper.

Regarding his dialogues with Pompeo, Khalid said both the US and Riyadh “stand side by side in bolstering regional and international security and stability”.

Khalid said he and Esper discussed bilateral security risks and reaffirmed “strong military cooperation in countering terrorism and preserving peace and stability”, according to Al-Jazeera news reports.

On Sep 21, an official within Yemen’s Houthi rebel movement has declared it will cease targeting Saudi Arabia with its ballistic missiles or military drone, warning the extension of Yemen civil war “will not benefit any side”.

The declaration was made by Houthi’s supreme political council head Mahdi al-Mashat – who is in-charge of rebel-held regions in Yemen, according to Al-Jazeera news reports.

“We declare ceasing to target the Saudi Arabian territory with military drones, ballistic missiles and all other forms of weapons, and we wait for a reciprocal move from them,” Mashat said on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV.

 

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