Pompeo discusses Gulf crisis with Saudi king
JEDDAH, June 24: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a tweet on Monday he had discussed heightened tensions in the region with Saudi Arabia's King Salman during a meeting in Jeddah.
Pompeo said they also discussed the need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz, following attacks on oil tankers in Gulf waters which Washington and Riyadh blame on Iran. Tehran denies the charges.
Both the US and Iran say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiked after Tehran shot down an American drone and a series of attacks on tankers in sensitive Gulf waters raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict.
Saudi and Emirati leaders advocate a tough US approach against common foe Iran, which on Monday said that any new American sanctions against it would have no "impact".
Pompeo met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Red Sea city of Jeddah days after the downing of the surveillance drone prompted US President Donald Trump to order a military strike before calling it off at the last minute.
He was later due to hold talks in the United Arab Emirates, US officials said.
Pompeo described Saudi Arabia and the UAE as "two great allies in the challenge that Iran presents". "We'll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned and how we can build out a global coalition," Pompeo said.
He said the US sought a coalition "not only throughout the Gulf states but in Asia and in Europe that understands this challenge and that is prepared to push back against the world's largest state sponsor of terror".
Tehran says the drone violated Iranian airspace and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has backed the claim with maps and coordinates -- allegations dismissed by Washington. -AFP