There will be some consequences for Saudi Arabia for its decision together with Russia to steer OPEC+ into a large oil production cut, U.S. President Joe Biden told CNN in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
It is time the U.S. rethinks its relationship with Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom, together with Russia, decided at last week’s OPEC+ meeting to slash oil production by the most since 2020, President Biden said.
“I am in the process, when the House and Senate gets back, they’re going to have to – there’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done with Russia,” President Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Last week, OPEC+ announced the biggest cut to its collective target since 2020. Despite insistence from Russia and all of OPEC+ that the production cut is based on technical market assessments and is aimed at “stability,” many analysts, as well as the White House, saw the move as a political one.
Late on Monday, U.S. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blasted Saudi Arabia for announcing the oil production cut and called for an “immediate” freezing of U.S. cooperation with the Kingdom, including arms sales.
Asked about whether he would consider freezing arms sales to Saudi Arabia, President Biden told CNN, “I’m not going get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind but there will be consequences.”
President Biden also reiterated his insistence that he didn’t visit Saudi Arabia this summer to beg for more oil.
“I didn’t go about oil, I went about making sure that we made sure that we weren’t going to walk away from the Middle East,” he said.
The President’s comments come after several prominent Democrats, including Senator Menendez, called for a re-evaluation of the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. The White House has criticized the Kingdom for “aligning with Russia” and for the “disappointing and short-sighted” decision to cut oil production.