Joe Biden vows ‘consequences’ for Saudi Arabia over OPEC move
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Joe Biden has warned there “will be consequences” for Saudi Arabia after the Middle East nation announced its intentions to cut oil production. Speaking to CNN, the US President did not specify what action Washington could take against Riyadh.
He told anchor Jake Tapper: “There’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia.”
He added: “I’m not going to get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind.
“But there will be – there will be consequences.”
OPEC+, the group of oil-exporting countries that includes Russia, resolved last week to slash oil production – something the US had loudly advocated against.
Starting from November, global oil production will be reduced by two million barrels per day.
The global oil market had already shuddered after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and cutting oil production and exportation to Western countries is expected to benefit Moscow most of all.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov praised the “balanced, thoughtful and planned work of the countries” taking “a responsible position within OPEC [that] is opposed to the actions of the US”.
He continued, as cited by Russian state news agencies: “This at least balances the mayhem that the Americans are causing.”
Bob Menendez, senior Democratic senator and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for a “freeze” of relations between the White House and Saudi Arabia’s ruling royal family.
He argued that the US “must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia”, which would include any military-related sales and national security collaboration that is not “absolutely necessary” for Washington.
Referencing Moscow’s continued invasion of Ukraine, he added in a statement: “I will not green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the Kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough.”
He added that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was helping “underwrite Putin’s war through the OPEC+ cartel”.
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Senator Menendez then called the OPEC+ move to cut production “a terrible decision driven by economic self-interest”.
White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said in the wake of the OPEC+ decision that the choice from the group that is spearheaded by Saudi Arabia was “misguided”.
She added from Air Force One in the wake of the announcement: “It’s clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia with today’s announcement.”
Prior to President Biden’s announcement on CNN, national security spokesperson John Kirby said the US leader believed the country should “review the bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia”.
Such an evaluation would “take a look to see if that relationship is where it needs to be and that it is serving our national security interests”.
It would be a move directly in line with “the recent decision by OPEC, and Saudi Arabia’s leadership”.
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