President Biden has ‘no plans’ meeting Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince-MBS at G20 Summit

In News
Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s defense minister said he was surprised to hear that the kingdom is “standing with Russia in its war with Ukraine.” As Biden re-evaluated the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, Sullivan reportedly said nothing would change.

In Summary

• Biden will respond to Saudi Arabia’s oil output cuts “methodically.”

• Tensions between the United States and Saudi Arabia are high over oil production cuts, which would help Russia pay for its offensive in Ukraine.

• US President Joe Biden has warned Saudi Arabia of “consequences” for siding with Russia in cutting oil output.

• The move could lead energy prices to skyrocket, raising concerns in Biden’s Democratic Party about how it will fare in November’s midterm elections.

Saudi Arabia
A newly-built electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Nusa Dua, the venue for the G20 Summit, in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. Indonesia plans to begin subsidizing purchases of electric vehicles next year as the country aspires to have 2.5 million EV users by 2025 to boost demand and reduce air pollution. [Sayoga/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

Biden to respond “methodically” to Saudi Arabia’s oil output cuts.

A senior US official said US President Joe Biden has “no plans” to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in Indonesia next month. This is because tensions are still high over the OPEC+ decision to cut oil production.

Jake Sullivan, the White House’s National Security Adviser, says that Biden will think “methodically” about how to respond to Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut oil production. One option is to change how the US helps with security.

He said, “The president will not act quickly.” “He will act methodically and strategically, and he will take his time to talk to members of both parties and wait for Congress to come back so he can sit down with them in person and talk through the options.”

The oil production cuts have made it harder for the US and Saudi Arabia to get along. The OPEC cartel, which Riyadh leads, and ten other oil producers, led by Russia, agreed last week to cut oil output by up to two million barrels per day starting in November.

The move will likely cause oil prices to go up, which will help Russia pay for its offensive in Ukraine.

The defense minister of Saudi Arabia said he was “amazed” that the country was being accused of “standing with Russia in its war with Ukraine.”

Prince Khalid bin Salman says that OPEC+ made the decision unanimously and only for economic reasons. “It says something that these false accusations did not come from the Ukrainian government,” King Salman’s son wrote on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia
Demonstrators opposing the highly controversial three-day visit to the UK of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman attend a protest rally on Whitehall. Critics point to the country’s ongoing human rights and equality failings and the catastrophic humanitarian impact of the continuing Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, meanwhile denouncing the British government for the massive amounts of military equipment it sells to the Saudi [David Cliff/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia faces unspecified “consequences” for siding with Russia.

Biden has warned Saudi Arabia that siding with Russia to support the cuts will have unspecified “consequences.” The OPEC+ move undermines Western countries’ plans to impose a price cap on Russian oil in response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The move could cause energy prices to go through the roof, which worries Biden’s Democratic Party about how well it will do in the midterm elections in November.

Washington said that Gulf producers were siding with Russia at the expense of the US and its Western allies.

Russia praised OPEC+ for agreeing to cut oil production and fight the “chaos” caused by the US in global energy markets.

When asked about revising the output cut, OPEC Secretary General Haitham al-Ghais said on Sunday, “In OPEC, there is always room for flexibility.”

During a press conference, he also said that OPEC+ decisions were purely technical and that the oil producers made a decision ahead of time.

Saudi Arabia
An employee fills petrol in an auto rickshaw at Ceylon petroleum corporation fuel station in Colombo on October 17, 2022. – Crisis-hit Sri Lanka slashed fuel prices on October 17, the second cut in as many weeks, after the World Bank warning that the economy will shrink an unprecedented 9.2 percent this year. [ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images]

Saudi arms sales

Once President Biden visited Saudi Arabia in July to meet with the crown prince, the move to cut oil production was seen as a diplomatic slap.

After the OPEC+ move, US Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for ending most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The fight between the US and Saudi Arabia spread to the G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Washington, which ended Thursday without a joint statement. Due to the conflict in Ukraine, the group was already split up.

In November, heads of state and government from the G20 will meet in Bali for a summit. Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin could be in the same room at this event.

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