President Biden’s administration called on Saudi Arabia to delay oil production cuts by a month to get it past the midterm elections, the country said Thursday.
The Saudi government, which heads oil conglomerate OPEC, dismissed appeals from the US last week and proceeded to cut oil production, potentially causing US gas prices to skyrocket ahead of Election Day.
“The UK government, through its ongoing consultation with the US government, has made it clear that all economic analysis indicates that postponing the Opec+ decision by one month, as proposed, would have had negative economic consequences,” it said in a statement from Thursday Saudis, according to the Guardian.
The Biden administration reacted with outrage at the decision and said on Wednesday that the US would “reconsider” its relationship with the Saudis.
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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre went so far as to accuse the Saudis of siding with Russia on Tuesday. She announced Biden’s plans to withdraw from the long US alliance with the Saudi government, although both the president and the government have declined to provide details on possible actions.
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In addition to possible election defeats in the US, many European countries are confronted with a strained energy supply this year, as Russia capped its exports in retaliation for Western economic sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We believe with the decision that OPEC+ made last week [Saudi Arabia is] certainly align with Russia,” Jean-Pierre said during a briefing Tuesday at the White House. “And right now, this is not the right time alignment with Russia, especially with this brutal, unprecedented war they have started in Ukraine.”
Biden’s allies in Congress are also urging him to take action against the Saudis. Senator Bob Menendez, DN.J., urged the White House on Monday to “immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia.” He added that the US should consider halting arms sales to the country.
“There is simply no place to play both sides of this conflict – either you support the rest of the free world trying to stop a war criminal from violently wiping an entire country off the map, or you support him,” wrote Menendez . “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in a terrible economic self-interest decision, chose the latter.”
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Biden himself confirmed in a recent interview that he is investigating “impacts” for Saudi Arabia.
“There will be some consequences for what they did to Russia,” Biden said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper published Tuesday. “I’m not going to go into what I would consider and what I have in mind. But there will be consequences.”