Saudi Arabia began hosting Arab leaders for two emergency summits starting today after attacks this month on oil assets has heightened tensions with Iran, according to reports.
Riyadh hopes the meetings will deliver a strong message to Iran that regional powers will defend their interests against any threat after this months attacks, Reuters reports.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, told the BBC today that the Kingdom “does not want war with Iran, but will not tolerate what it considers hostile Iranian activity in the Middle East.”
The summits are being held in the holy city of Mecca.
Iran has denied that it was behind recent attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and oil pumping stations inside the Kingdom, but U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton put the blame for the attacks squarely on Iran this week. “There is no doubt in anybody’s mind in Washington who is responsible for this and I think it’s important that the leadership in Iran know that we know,” Bolton said.
Despite the ongoing rift between the two nations, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman extended his invitation to Qatar to join the meetings and Doha accepted. A Qatari jet landed in Saudi Arabia for the first time since June of 2017.
According to Reuters, Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf told a gathering of his counterparts in Jeddah ahead of the summits that the attacks must be addressed with “strength and firmness.”