Sunday, 02 Apr 2023

US-Saudi rift grows over decision to cut oil production

US-Saudi rift grows over decision to cut oil production

US-Saudi rift grows over decision to cut oil production

The relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia continued to worsen on Thursday as the two countries traded barbs over the decision to cut oil production, with Washington accusing Riyadh of coercing other members of the Opec+ cartel, and Riyadh suggesting the Biden administration tried to get the decision delayed by a month.

Kirby would not name which cartel members had complained about coercion but said there was more than one. He said that the process of reviewing the bilateral relationship had already begun but would be rushed, and the administration would await the return of Congress from recess in November to consult congressional leaders on the next steps.

He added that the US would observe what Saudi Arabia and the rest of the cartel decided on oil production at its next meeting in December before making final decisions.

Saudi Arabia has denied that the decision was taken unilaterally and said other Opec members were all in support. However, senior Democrats insist that political considerations were behind the move and that US concerns were dismissed by an ally willing to dilute a longstanding relationship, potentially in favour of the Russian president.

Relations between both states have deteriorated since the early days of the Biden administration when the then incoming president vowed to isolate the Saudi de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman, whom he described as a pariah. In July this year, Biden reversed course, travelling to Jeddah to meet the crown prince, but leaving with little gained from his trip.

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