Saudi Arabia‘s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Monday that President Donald Trump should be able to do as he chooses when it comes to international security.

Speaking during a panel session at the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz said: “The president of the United States is the president of the United States, he can do whatever he wishes.”

He’s “certainly” not accountable to me or “anybody in this room,” he added.

Abdulaziz’s comments come as energy market participants continue to closely monitor heightened tensions in the Middle East.

The U.S. killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani earlier this month, triggering a dramatic escalation that many feared could result in a widening regional conflict.

Iran, an arch-rival of Saudi Arabia in the region, responded to the U.S. attack by launching missiles at two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has since said the missile attacks were a “slap on the face” of the U.S., but such military actions were “not enough.”

The situation remains tense, but both sides have sought to back off from intensifying the conflict over recent days.

Stable oil markets

“The U.S. is a strategic partner and it has a big role in terms of international security,” Abdulaziz said.

“We are leaving it to our friends of the U.S. to conduct themselves in a manner they see fit in attending to a situation like this,” he added.

The Trump administration has since claimed it ordered the drone strike on Soleimani in part because he was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.”

The administration has been circumspect about what those plans actually entailed and when they were expected to be carried out. 

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $64.89 a barrel Monday morning, down more than 0.1%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $58.96, almost 0.2% lower.

“As tensions remain high in our region, the kingdom will continue to do all it can do to ensure stable oil markets,” Abdulaziz said.



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