Saudi's recent Ukraine support does not make up for OPEC+ cuts - Blinken

Saudi Arabia's recent moves to provide aid to Ukraine do not compensate for the "wrong" decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production, says US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and India's Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar hold a joint news conference at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan (JNB) in New Delhi, India July 28, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and India's Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar hold a joint news conference at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan (JNB) in New Delhi, India July 28, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS)

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, US 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 US officials against such a move.

Speaking at an event on Wednesday organized by Bloomberg, Blinken repeated the US 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.

He 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.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on May 25, 2021. (credit: FLASH90)U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on May 25, 2021. (credit: FLASH90)

"These are positive developments. They don't compensate for the decision that was made by OPEC+. ... But we'll take note of that," he said.

US-Saudi relations are still in a tight spot

A day after the October 12 decision by OPEC+ oil producers to impose output cuts despite US 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.

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 Congress on the issue.