Russia-Ukraine conflict: According to a report, the presidents of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates refused to answer the phone when President Biden sought to contact them to discuss increasing oil shipments to offset price increases connected to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the source, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan have both declined to receive calls from US President Joe Biden in recent weeks. Saudi officials have been harshly critical of the United States and its Gulf strategy as the relationship deteriorates under the Biden administration. According to the article, they sought increased US backing in Yemen’s civil war as well as legal immunity for Prince Mohammed in the US. The Saudi Crown Prince is facing various lawsuits in the United States, including one for the murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has raised concerns about an increase in oil prices, but Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have both stated that they will adhere to the production plan agreed upon by OPEC and a group of other producers led by Russia. Russia is one of the world’s leading oil producers.
On Tuesday morning, Biden prohibited Russian oil imports and predicted that gasoline prices will rise much more after reaching an all-time high of $4.17 a gallon on average.
Meanwhile, US diplomats are working to broker a new nuclear deal with Iran in exchange for sanctions relief, and other diplomats have been dispatched to Caracas to mend fences with Venezuela’s socialist strongman Nicolas Maduro, whom the US government does not recognise as the country’s legitimate ruler.
Before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Biden hosted at the White House the leaders of various natural gas producers, including Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store and Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, whose supplies were needed to offset a potential natural gas shortage in Europe.
After assuming office, Biden announced a shift in tone toward Saudi Arabia, withdrawing US support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen’s civil conflict. Although he did not penalise the crown prince for Khashoggi’s murder, Biden is primarily concerned about his father, King Salman, 86, with whom he talked on February 9.
The United Arab Emirates is a close ally of Saudi Arabia. Under the Trump administration-negotiated Abraham Accords, the UAE became the third Arab country to recognise Israel in 2020. Other Arab countries, such as Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, followed suit.
Last week, both leaders of Saudi and UAE received phone calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin.