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Saudi Arabia makes strong statement by shunning Biden plea on oil supply boost

As global oil prices keep rising amidst the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine, the United States is turning to its estranged ally Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, for possible help to boost supply.

However, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto leader of the Middle Eastern kingdom, appears lukewarm.

US President Joe Biden recently called ailing Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, asking for an increase in the production of crude oil. The Americans seemed to foresee a Russian invasion of Ukraine and an inevitable boycott by Western countries on Russia.

The Saudis’ reply was that they would maintain the production output agreed by the major oil producers under the Opec+ production agreement.

That means no extra oil output from Saudi Arabia at the moment.

Saudi Arabia makes strong statement by shunning Biden plea on oil supply boost

The crown prince cancelled his trip to attend the Winter Olympics in China in February in order to make sure he was with his father when Biden called.

The US-led boycott of Russia, a major oil producer, following its invasion of Ukraine has reduced supply in the world market and led to a series of price hikes.

Ties between the US and Saudi Arabia, its long-standing strategic partner, have soured since Biden took office in January 2021. The Americans are unhappy with Riyadh's human rights record, particularly involving the Saudi-led military operation in neighbouring Yemen and the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist, was last seen at a Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018. Reports citing the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said he was killed and dismembered there before the remains were disposed of.

The CIA pointed its finger at the Saudi crown prince, known as MBS.

He avoided the Western media for over two years after the incident and recently broke his silence in an interview with The Atlantic. “I feel that human rights law wasn't applied to me,” he said of the accusation against him. “Article XI of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that any person is innocent until proven guilty.”

The crown prince also mentioned the possibility that he would cut his investments in the US, which is currently worth about $800 billion. “In the same way we have the possibility of boosting our interests, we have the possibility of reducing them,” he said.

That explains why Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader seemed to be uninterested when the US — the largest consumer of oil — approached the oil-rich kingdom, its long-time ally for help to rein in runaway oil prices.

Saudi Arabia makes strong statement by shunning Biden plea on oil supply boost

Published : March 11, 2022