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US, Saudi discuss maritime defence after oil attacks

by AFP

Vice Admiral Jim Malloy, Commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, travelled to Riyadh on September 29th to meet with Vice Admiral Fahad al Ghofaily, Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, and US Ambassador John Abizaid to discuss maritime defence co-ordination. [Photo courtesy of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces Public Affairs]

A US navy official visited Saudi Arabia to discuss maritime defence co-ordination following last month's twin attacks on key oil facilities in the kingdom, AFP reported Tuesday (October 1st).

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

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

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

Malloy met with 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, Bahrain and the UAE.

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