Democrats call on Biden to take tougher stance on Saudi Arabia
Several US officials plan to pressure President Joe Biden’s administration to take a tougher stance on Middle Easter ally Saudi Arabia, after the kingdom’s refusal to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine seven weeks ago.
In a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal [WSJ], the leaders of the US House foreign affairs and intelligence committees and several other Democrats have criticised Biden and his administration over its handling of Washington’s relationship with long-time strategic ally Riyadh.
They have voiced concern over Saudi Arabia’s closer ties with Russia and China.
"We stand at an inflection point: The United States can continue our status-quo of broad support for an autocratic partner, or we can stand for human rights and rebalance our relationship to reflect our values and interests," the lawmakers wrote in their letter, seen by the WSJ.
That letter was sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.
Ties between the two countries have worsened ever since Biden took office. In a recent add-on to tensions, Saudi Arabia has refused to increase its oil production amid uncertainty due to the conflict in Ukraine, angering officials in Washington.
Recently, a comedy skit from Saudi state-affiliated MBC television mocking Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris went viral around the world.