Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar said the attacks by Iran-backed militias on the Kingdom threaten civilians. (File/Wikipedia)
Lives of innocent civilians at risk from actions of Iran-backed militias, says Princess Reema bint Bandar
‘We are exercising extreme restraint in the face of a daily barrage of weaponized drones and ballistic missiles,’ she adds
LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US said “egregious terrorist attacks” by Iran-backed militias on the Kingdom threatened both civilians and global energy security.
In the most recent incident, Arab coalition forces intercepted a drone targeting an oil tank yard in Ras Tanura Port and a missile heading for an Aramco residential area in Dhahran on Sunday.
The attacks “represent a threat to the stability of global energy supplies, affecting the entire global economy and endangering the lives of Saudi workers in Aramco and thousands more from 80 different nationalities, including Americans,” Princess Reema bint Bandar said on Wednesday.
She added: “We are exercising extreme restraint in the face of a daily barrage of weaponized drones and ballistic missiles.”
The envoy praised the “brave and remarkable efforts” of the Saudi Armed Forces in successfully intercepting more than 526 Houthi drones and more than 346 ballistic missiles, and protecting civilians from all manner of threats.
She said that the situation is distressing because despite the Kingdom’s efforts to resolve the conflict in Yemen, Houthi cross-border attacks have escalated in the past few weeks. In addition, she said, the Iran-backed group has launched an offensive in an attempt to take control of the oil-rich city of Marib, which has been a safe haven for internally displaced people since the conflict began six years ago. The Houthis have also shelled and bombarded the city of Taiz and other Yemeni civilian locations, she added.
“The Kingdom is committed to ending the war in Yemen through a political resolution but on the other side of this conflict is a group driven by the extremist ideology of the Iranian regime,” Princess Reema said.
The Houthi militias continue to disregard the suffering of the people of Yemen and are not interested in serious discussions to resolve the conflict, she added. Meanwhile the Kingdom, from the beginning of the conflict, has shown determination to restore stability and security to the war-torn country through a negotiated settlement, she said.
The Kingdom also supports all UN-led peace initiatives, Princess Reema said, and Saudi officials are actively supporting the work of Martin Griffiths, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen, and Tim Lenderking, the newly appointed US special envoy to the country.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to provide weapons, training and technical support to the Houthis, she said as she called on the international community to take action to prevent the smuggling into Yemen of Iranian weapons that are “being used to terrorize Yemenis and to launch attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia.”
The princess also pointed out that the Houthis have denied UN teams access to carry out emergency repairs on the Safer oil tanker, which has been moored in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen for more than five years. Its condition has deteriorated to the extent that it threatens a catastrophic oil spill, which experts warn could be four times as bad as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster.