(breitbart) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia issued an outraged statement Thursday condemning the White House, without naming any official in particular, for claiming that Riyadh supported an OPEC+ decision to cut oil production by two million barrels a day because it had decided to side with Russia in the ongoing Ukraine war.
The extensive statement also mentioned rumors, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, that the leftist administration of President Joe Biden had attempted to convince Saudi officials to delay any oil production cut until after the midterm elections. While the Foreign Affairs Ministry neither confirmed nor denied that American diplomats had made the request, it rejected the idea as potentially having “negative economic consequences.”
The statement adds to what is becoming a growing scandal for the Biden administration that began with Biden himself visiting Saudi Arabia and meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), reportedly to urge him to increase Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Biden enthusiastically denied that this was the objective of his visit in July, but neither he nor his officials ever clarified what the actual goal in traveling there allegedly was.
According to this week’s Wall Street Journal report, the Riyadh visit went so poorly for Biden that MBS decided to cut scheduled oil production increases after meeting with the American president. The report also claimed that Biden’s officials had urged the Saudi government to pressure OPEC+, a cartel that includes Russia, to wait until after the midterm elections to announce any production cuts, keeping prices lower just in time for Americans to vote.
Biden officials have dramatically announced a total reevaluation of diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the production cut and attempted to tie the decision to the Ukraine war, claiming Riyadh had now taken sides against Kyiv. In reality, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has maintained close communications with MBS for months and thanked Saudi Arabia for aiding in the release of Ukrainian prisoners. Saudi Arabia voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations on Wednesday.
The Saudi government asserted on Thursday its “total rejection” of any claims that the OPEC+ production cut was “politically motivated against the United States of America.”
“The Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would first like to express its total rejection of these statements that are not based on facts, and which are based on portraying the OPEC+ decision out of its purely economic context,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserted.
The statement went on to deny accusations, primarily from the Biden White House, that Saudi Arabia had decided to oppose Ukraine in the Russian invasion.
“Any attempts to distort the facts about the Kingdom’s position regarding the crisis in Ukraine are unfortunate, and will not change the Kingdom’s principled position, including its vote to support UN resolutions regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis,” the statement continued.
“The Government of the Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the US Administration that all econmic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences,” the foreign ministry added. It did not clarify who had “suggested” postponing the production cuts until after the midterm elections.
The statement went on to assert a “rejection of any dictates, actions, or efforts to distort its noble objectives to protect the global economy from oil market volatility,” presumably a condemnation of attempts by Washington to impose policies on Saudi Arabia.
Saudi diplomats have repeatedly insisted in the past few months that the relationship with the United States is, as Thursday’s statement insisted, “a strategic one that serves the common interests of both countries,” omitting any language suggesting “friendship” or other warmer vocabulary to describe mutual ties. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan similarly described the bilateral relationship as “institutionalized” in remarks to the Saudi network al-Arabiya.
The statement concluded demanding “respect” from America.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responding on Thursday to outraged Biden White House statements declaring that Saudi Arabia had benefitted Russia by working with OPEC+ to cut oil production. Biden himself told reporters Wednesday he would “take action” to punish the Saudis, but he did not elaborate on that threat.
“Look, it’s clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia with today’s announcement,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week, responding to the production cut. She, too, did not elaborate.
White House spokesman John Kirby told CNN on Wednesday that Biden was planning an imminent, dramatic change in bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia.
“I think the president’s been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to reevaluate, that we need to be willing to revisit. And certainly, in light of the OPEC decision, I think that’s where he is,” Kirby claimed. “He’s willing to work with Congress to think through what that relationship ought to look like going forward.”
That threat did not last a day; by Wednesday afternoon, Biden himself said he would not be acting on any changes to Saudi relations until after the midterm elections.
“We’re going to react to Saudi Arabia, and they’re doing consultation when they come back,” he told reporters, referring to Congress. Congress will not return to session until mid-November.