02:18 GMT +322 January 2020
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    Assistant US Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, David Schenker, said Thursday that US officials are discussing with the European Union the possibility of participating in a maritime military alliance in the Gulf area, media reported.

    Schenker noted that a team from the United States, the EU, Saudi Arabia, and the United Nations will deliver a special report on recent attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, according to the Al Arabiya broadcaster.

    On 14 September, drone attacks caused significant damage to two Aramco plants in Abqaiq and Khurais in Saudi Arabia. As a result, Saudi Arabia suspended the production of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day - over half of its total daily output.

    While Yemen's armed Houthi opposition political faction claimed the responsibility for the attacks against Saudi Arabia, the United States put the blame on Iran, as have France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Iran has denied involvement.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Yemen's Houthis humiliated Washington, as they were able to hit targets in Saudi Arabia due primarily to the ineffectiveness of US missile defence systems sold to the Kingdom.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed accusations against his country as "most irresponsible".

    In light of the recent attacks on the kingdom, Washington is deploying a battery of Patriot missiles, four sentinel radar systems, and about 200 American support personnel to Saudi Arabia, according to Pentagon Chief spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman.

    Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Yemen's current government in exile, have been conducting a war against the Houthi opposition faction since 2015. An estimated 12,000 civilians have been killed and millions have been displaced in Yemen - the region's poorest nation - in what the United Nations is currently describing as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.


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    European Union, State Department, attacks, oil, Saudi Aramco
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