Saudi's Ukraine support does not make up for OPEC+ cuts, Blinken says
Saudi Arabia's recent moves to provide aid to Ukraine and its vote at the United Nations condemning Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territory are positive developments, but do not compensate for the "wrong" decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
OPEC+, the oil producer group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) plus allies including Russia, announced the production target after weeks of lobbying by U.S. officials against such a move.
Speaking at an event on Wednesday organised by Bloomberg, Blinken repeated the U.S. position that Washington was going to re-evaluate the relationship with Saudi Arabia in a "very deliberate" fashion to make sure it better reflects American interests.
But he added that the United States has seen "a few interesting things" from Saudi Arabia since the OPEC+ decision.
Blinken specifically referred to Riyadh's decision to provide $400 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine and its vote at the United Nations General Assembly last week condemning Russia's annexation of four partly occupied regions in Ukraine.
"These are positive developments. They don't compensate for the decision that was made by OPEC+. ... But we'll take note of that," Blinken said.
A day after the October 12 decision by OPEC+ oil producers to impose output cuts despite U.S. objections, President Joe Biden, concerned that gasoline prices will spike ahead of the November 8 midterm elections, vowed to impose "consequences" on Saudi Arabia for siding with Russia in supporting the cuts.
At the White House, spokesperson John Kirby said the National Security Council is looking at "what options we would like to tee up" for Biden to consider in response to his vow to impose consequences against Saudi Arabia in response to the oil output cut.
Kirby told reporters the United States is not looking to rupture the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
The OPEC+ move undermines Western countries' plans to impose a cap on the price of Russian oil exports in response to Moscow's war in Ukraine.
Some lawmakers want the United States to suspend arms sales to the longtime Middle Eastern ally.
The White House has given no timeline for completing a policy review on Saudi Arabia, and Blinken did not offer one either. He said the administration was consulting with members of the Congress on the issue.