Biden vows consequences for Saudi Arabia after OPEC+ decision

  • OPEC+ announces slashing oil output target
  • Saudi Arabia is OPEC’s de facto leader
  • The US has lobbied against such a move

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden pledged on Tuesday that U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia “will suffer” after OPEC+ announced last week that it would cut its oil output targets due to U.S. opposition .

His announcement came a day after Sen. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a powerful Democrat, said the United States must immediately freeze all cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including arms sales.

Biden wouldn’t discuss the options he’s considering in an interview with CNN’s Jack Tapper.

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said there would be a policy review, but gave no timetable for action or information on who would lead the reassessment. She said the U.S. will monitor the situation closely “in the coming weeks and months.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the OPEC+ decision was purely economic and was unanimously agreed by its members.

“OPEC+ members acted responsibly and made appropriate decisions,” Prince Faisal told Al Arabiya television channel.

OPEC+, the oil-producing group of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, announced the production target after weeks of lobbying by U.S. officials against the move.

The United States has accused Saudi Arabia of bowing to Russia, which opposes Western caps on Russian oil prices in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. officials have been quietly trying to persuade their largest Arab partner to drop the idea of ​​cutting output, but Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has not wavered.

Bin Salman and Biden clashed during Biden’s July visit to Jeddah over the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

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The crown prince approved an operation to arrest or kill Saudi insider-turned-critic Khashoggi, who was murdered and dismembered by Saudi agents inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, U.S. intelligence said.

Prince Salman, 86, the son of King Salman, denied ordering the killing but admitted it took place “under my supervision”. Biden said in July that he told the prince he felt responsible.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Biden would work with Congress “to think about what this relationship should look like going forward.”

“And I think he’s going to be willing to start having those conversations right away. Frankly, I don’t think it’s something that has to wait or should wait longer,” Kirby added.

State Department spokesman Ned Price also said Tuesday that the Biden administration would not ignore Iran, a U.S. adversary and a fierce regional rival to Saudi Arabia, in its more

Most U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia take into account the Iranian threat in the region.

“There are security challenges, some of which are coming from Iran. Of course, we’re not going to ignore the threat that Iran poses not only to the region, but also in some ways,” Price said.

Prince Faisal said that US-Saudi military cooperation is in the interests of both countries.

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Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu, Humeyra Pamuk, Simon Lewis and Aziz El Yaakoubi in Riyadh Reporting Editors Deepa Babington, Gerry Doyle and David Goodman

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