White House says Biden will reassess U.S.-Saudi relationship

After the Saudi-led coalition of oil producers announced it would cut oil production, President Biden launched a process to reassess and potentially change the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

OPEC+’s move to cut oil production by 2 million bpd last week could boost U.S. and global oil prices, while the timing of a month before the midterm elections is a particular political blow for Biden, who is in the president’s circle. Some of the people took the hit as a personal snub.

“I think the president is very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to re-evaluate, and we need to be willing to re-examine,” White House spokesman John Kirby said on CNN, reiterating Biden’s disappointment with Unesco’s decision . Oil exporting countries and their partners.

“Certainly, given OPEC’s decision, I think that’s where he’s at,” Kirby said. “And he’s willing to work with Congress to think about what that relationship should look like going forward.”

Kirby, the White House National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, said he did not announce where the process was going, but said U.S. officials, including Biden, would “consider what it takes to have the right relationship with Saudi Arabia to move forward.”

When asked about the timetable, Kirby said, “I think it’s the timetable now, and I think he’s going to be willing to start having those conversations right away.”

Biden administration officials made an extraordinary effort to urge Saudi Arabia to produce more oil to make up for a global oil shortage caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the president paid a personal visit to the Saudi leader during a visit to Jeddah in July. With last week’s announcement, Saudi Arabia rejected those requests, at least in part.

Officials had hoped Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia would improve the kingdom’s relationship on a range of issues, including global oil supplies.

The oil production cuts help Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and is seen as potentially triggering a rise in U.S. natural gas prices in the weeks leading up to the midterm elections, when Democrats have a narrow margin in the House and Senate Most are at risk.

Asked about reports that the Biden administration canceled an upcoming Iran policy meeting involving Saudi Arabia in response to the OPEC+ move, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the “intermediate” meeting would be rescheduled, “Because we set our plan. National interest.”

Senator on Monday. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) criticized Saudi Arabia and called for an immediate freeze on “all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia.” Menendez also pledged to exercise the powers of the committee chairman to block any future arms sales.

Congressional anger and frustration with Saudi Arabia has escalated since the oil decision. On Tuesday, Senator. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

“This simple and urgent measure will prevent the United States from selling arms to Saudi Arabia after it made a very aggressive and destructive mistake: to stand with Russia at this historic moment,” Blumenthal said. “Saudi Arabia People must reverse their oil supply cuts, which are aiding and abetting Russia’s brutal criminal incursion, endangering the world economy, and threatening rising gas prices at American gas stations.

The legislation would immediately suspend all U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, including military materiel, sales and other arms aid. It will also impose a one-year moratorium on all direct commercial sales and foreign arms and ammunition sales to Saudi Arabia.

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