US-Saudi pact against Gulf attacks

US-Saudi pact against Gulf attacks


A US navy official visited Saudi Arabia to discuss maritime defence coordination following last month’s twin attacks on key oil facilities in the kingdom.

Riyadh joined a US-led force to protect Gulf shipping as tensions with Iran soared after the September 14 attacks that temporarily knocked out half of the OPEC's  giant’s production.

"The  visit was an opportunity to discuss our mutual efforts going forward to coordinate defence against provocation and attack," said the Vice-Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of US Naval Forces in the Middle East, according to a statement.

It added the visit focused on the Saudi navy’s role in 'efforts to strengthen and reinforce defences against the Iranian aggression'.

Admiral Malloy met Saudi navy commander Fahad al-Ghofaily in Riyadh on Sunday, three days after the Pentagon announced it was sending 200 troops with Patriot missiles to bolster the kingdom’s defences.

The US has pushed for the creation of a US-led operation, dubbed the International Maritime Security Construct, to safeguard trade and the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

It has so far been joined by Australia, Britain and the United Arab Emirates.