Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Reports say Biden re-evaluating US-Saudi relationship

US President Joe Biden has reportedly said it’s time for the United States to rethink its relationship with Saudi Arabia, while also defending his recent visit to the Arab country.

“Yes,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper when asked about whether Washington should reconsider its ties with Riyadh.

“And by the way, let’s get straight why I went. I didn’t go… about oil,” the president added.

His comments echo multiple White House officials, who said earlier on Tuesday the president was willing to reevaluate the US-Saudi relationship. The shifting rhetoric comes in the wake of a decision by OPEC+, a group of oil producing nations, to cut supply.

Biden reiterated in the interview that the meeting “wasn’t about oil” and touted recent news that the White House has displayed as deliverables out of his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah in July.

He noted a deal that the Biden administration successful brokered between Israel and Lebanon delineating maritime boundaries. Additionally, he stated the Saudi’s decision to lift a ban on Israel flights and that there is “movement in terms of how we would deal in the Middle East with aggression from Iran.”

Tapper mentioned that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), called for freezing US cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including spending arm sales, on Monday.

“I’m not going to get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind. But there will be, there will be consequences,” Biden said about changes to the US-Saudi conflict.

White House officials have not outlined any specific changes that are on the table and they did not put a timeline on when Biden might come to a decision about how to execute such a change in policy.

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