Biden has no plans to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at G20

The White House said last week it was re-evaluating relationship with Riyadh following Opec+ production cuts

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and US President Joe Biden at Al Salam Palace in Jeddah on July 15, 2022. @spagov
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US President Joe Biden has “no plans” to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the coming G20 summit in Indonesia, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.

Mr Sullivan's comments to CNN came during increased tension between Washington and Riyadh over a decision by Opec+ to cut oil production by two million barrels a day, its biggest production cut since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Critics of the decision in Washington have framed it as a move that benefits Moscow as its war with Ukraine escalates. Riyadh and other Opec+ members - which includes Russia - have defended the decision as one that protected the bloc's economic interests amid a global inflation crisis and geopolitical instability.

“The Americans asked for our support when oil prices fell sharply,” Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, told Al Arabiya on Wednesday. The Opec+ decision call was “purely economic, and it was taken unanimously by the member states” who took the “appropriate” decision, he added.

Prince Faisal said Opec+ countries “seek to stabilise the market and achieve the interests of producers and consumers”.

White House National Security spokesman John Kirby announced on Tuesday that Mr Biden was “re-evaluating” the US's bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia in response to that cut, which led to a jump in oil prices before critical US mid-term elections.

“The president believes that we should review the bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia and to take a look to see if that relationship is where it needs to be and that it is serving our national security interests,” Mr Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Kirby said the White House was willing to engage with Congress as it rethinks that relationship, just a day after Bob Menendez, the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, vowed to “freeze all aspects” of Washington's co-operation with Saudi Arabia and threatened to block all future weapons sales.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy are expected to attend this year’s G20 summit in Indonesia.

Updated: October 17, 2022, 3:29 AM