Saudi Arabia defends its oil policy against US accusations
Saudi Arabia denies that it allied itself with Russia during the Ukraine war. It made oil production cuts to increase crude prices.
“We are shocked by the accusations that Russia is standing with the kingdom in its war against Ukraine,” Prince Khaled bin salman, Saudi defense minister, tweeted late Sunday.
Washington has been angered by the OPEC+ cartel, which includes Russia, and has decided to reduce production by two millions barrels per day starting November. This will add further pressure to soaring crude oil prices.
Prince Khaled wrote, “It’s telling that these false allegations didn’t come from the Ukrainian government.”
“OpEC+’s unanimous decision was made for economic reasons. However, some people accused the kingdom of being in league with Russia.
“Iran is also a member OPEC. Does this mean that the kingdom stands with Iran?” He was referring to Saudi Arabia’s regional rival.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in a Sunday night speech, stated that his country was working hard to balance global oil markets and support stability.
Fahad Nazer (spokesman for Saudi embassy in Washington), spoke similarly on Monday. He stressed that the OPEC+ decision was “determined strictly according to market fundamentals”.
He also stressed the importance of US-Saudi relations, noting that both countries collaborated in the 1990 Kuwaiti invasion by Saddam Hussein and, more recently, in fighting against the jihadist Islamic State.
“If that is not an alliance definition, I don’t know what it is.” The United States is our strongest partner, we are certain. It has been over the past 80 years,” Nazer stated.
“It is our most important strategic partner. We look forward to continuing this partnership well into the future.”
Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, both OPEC members as well as partners in Saudi Arabia, also defended Sunday’s cartel decision as a technical move.
John Kirby, White House spokesperson, stated last week that Riyadh understood the cut would “increase Russian revenues and blunt sanctions against Moscow.”
The United States has pledged to reevaluate its ties with the oil-rich Kingdom since the cut. This was seen by President Joe Biden as a diplomatic slap in his face. They raised prices on US consumers just weeks before the congressional elections.
Biden, despite vowing to make Saudi Arabia an international “pariah”, after the October 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, traveled to Saudi Arabia in July to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two exchanged high-profile fist bumps.
However, with tensions now in place, Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Advisor, stated Sunday that Biden “no plans to meet Prince Mohammed at an upcoming G20 summit.
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