biden: As gas prices rise, Joe Biden is likely to visit Saudi Arabia – Times of India


WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is likely to visit Saudi Arabia later this month as part of an international trip for NATO and Group of Seven meetings, according to those familiar with the matter, with record high U.S. gas prices weighing on the political prospects of his party.
Traveling to Saudi Arabia would mean Biden would almost inevitably meet his effective ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who blames the US president for the 2018 murder of a US-based columnist at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. .
Those familiar with the matter only said a trip to Saudi Arabia was likely, without confirming a meeting with the crown prince. They asked not to be identified as Biden’s travel plans have not yet been finalized.
The president is expected to attend a NATO summit in Madrid and a G-7 meeting in Munich by the end of this month.
At the outset of Biden’s presidency, the White House said he would only deal directly with Saudi Arabia’s official head of state, King Salman bin Abdulaziz — a blunted crown prince known as MBS, who holds most of the levers of power in the kingdom. checks.
But pressure has mounted on Biden to give in to a meeting with Bin Salman as US gasoline prices spiked to record highs during his presidency. He has threatened federal price hikes and ordered a record release of oil from US reserves to try to lower prices at gas stations, but to no avail.
Although Saudi Arabia had previously refused to accelerate the increase in its oil exports, the Financial Times reported on Thursday that the country has indicated to Western allies that it is willing to increase its oil supply.
Oil fell below $113 a barrel in Asian trading Thursday following the report, which precedes a monthly OPEC+ meeting at which the group is expected to ratify a modest increase in production for July. The FT report, citing people familiar with the talks, said Saudi Arabia could increase oil production if Russian production fell significantly due to sanctions after the war in Ukraine.
Saudi Arabia had previously argued that the energy crisis could get significantly worse later this year, and believed it should hold back production capacity. The Biden administration has said global crude oil demand is recovering much faster than expected after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The murder and mutilation of US resident Jamal Khashoggi and Washington Post columnist at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul has seriously damaged the kingdom’s relations with the US government. Shortly after he took office, the Biden administration released a declassified report blaming the crown prince’s murder.
The prince has denied any involvement, although he says he takes responsibility for the assassination as the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

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