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  • Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives to address the Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia November 20, 2019.

    Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives to address the Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia November 20, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 November 2019
Opinion

Tensions have risen since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear deal with world powers last year and reimposed economic sanctions.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman blasted Iran in a statement on Wednesday, as he accused the Islamic Republic of being behind the 'chaos' in the Middle East region.

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In a defiant note against the kingdom’s enemies, King Salman said that the missile and drone strikes on the Aramco facilities, which he blames on Iran, had not halted development and reiterating that Riyadh will not hesitate to defend itself.

In an annual address to the appointed Shura Council, he called again on the international community to stop Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and halt regional intervention, saying it was time to stop the “chaos and destruction” generated by Iran, according to prepared remarks.

He also said the oil policy of the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter, is aimed at promoting market stability.

“Though the kingdom has been subjected to attacks by 286 ballistic missiles and 289 drones, in a way that has not been seen in any other country, that has not affected the kingdom’s development process or the lives of its citizens and residents,” the king told assembled council members, royals and foreign diplomats.

He praised the ability of state oil giant Saudi Aramco to quickly restore oil production capacity after attacks on its facilities in September which initially cut more than 5% of global supply.

He said Aramco’s response had proven the kingdom’s ability to meet global demand in any shortage, and praised the company’s initial public offering, which began this week, saying it would attract foreign investment and create thousands of jobs.

Tensions have risen since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear deal with world powers last year and reimposed economic sanctions.

Washington and Riyadh blame Tehran for the September attacks and earlier ones against oil tankers in Gulf waters and other Saudi oil installations. Iran denies involvement.

In Yemen, where Saudi Arabia leads a military coalition battling the Iran-aligned Houthis in a nearly five year war that has killed tens of thousands, King Salman said the kingdom seeks a political settlement.

He said he hoped a recent agreement signed in Riyadh between two coalition-backed parties that had fallen out would open the door to broader peace talks.

While reiterating long-standing support for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the king did not refer to a U.S. decision this week in effect to back Israel’s building of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

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