US Central Command welcomes Saudi Arabia into international maritime coalition

CENTCOM head Gen. Kenneth McKenzie welcomed Saudi Arabia's commitment to maritime security. (File photo: AFP)

The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie issued a statement on Thursday welcoming Saudi Arabia into the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC).

“I appreciate His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud’s decision to join the IMSC and in taking an active role in preserving the freedom of navigation, promoting maritime security, and de-escalating regional tensions,” said McKenzie.

“We appreciate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leading role in regional security matters and welcome their commitment to preserving the free flow of commerce, which is a linchpin of the global economy,” the statement read.

Saudi Arabia joined on Wednesday the International Maritime Security Construct - a US-led international alliance that aims to protect merchant ships and ensure freedom of maritime navigation and international trade.

The US formed the coalition after attacks on oil tankers that were widely blamed on Iran, as well as to address Iran’s seizure of tankers in the region.

The alliance covers areas that include the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandab, Sea of Oman, and the Arabian Gulf.

The UAE became part of the alliance earlier on Thursday too, joining Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UK, Australia, and the US.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:05 - GMT 11:05