The Chairman of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee has called for a “freeze” on cooperation with Saudi Arabia, after the Kingdom defied Washington’s demand to increase oil production and, instead, agreed with other oil-producing countries to cut production.
In a statement yesterday, the Committee’s Chairman, Bob Menendez, stressed that the “United States must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend US personnel and interests”.
His statement followed a decision last week by the Saudi-led Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) to cut the production and output of crude oil by an amount equal to around 2 per cent of the global supply. That decrease in production in the current worldwide energy crisis and shortage has been predicted to potentially further raise diesel and gasoline prices.
According to Menendez and the US, however, that decision will also serve the purpose of helping Russia – another prominent member of OPEC+ – in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, as Washington and other western nations have imposed sanctions on Moscow and curbed its oil exports. Riyadh and the Organisation’s decision, they insist, will only hinder support for Ukraine and embolden Russia.
“I will not green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the Kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough,” Menendez stated.
For its part, Saudi Arabia has denied that it and the OPEC+ member States agreed to the move out of support for Russia, and the Kingdom has insisted it was not in touch with Moscow prior to or during the decision. Instead, the agreement was reportedly an attempt to prevent volatility in the global oil markets.