‘Hope Biden doesn’t turn Saudi Arabia against Russia’

Biden will make the case for greater oil production from OPEC nations to bring down gasoline prices when he meets Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia this week…reports Asian Lite News

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it hoped President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia would not be used to try to foster anti-Russian relations, just as the United States seeks to convince Riyadh to boost oil production amid soaring prices.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday that Biden will make the case for greater oil production from OPEC nations to bring down gasoline prices when he meets Gulf leaders in Saudi Arabia this week.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that Russia, the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, highly valued cooperation with Saudi Arabia within the framework of OPEC+ group of world’s leading oil producers.

“We are within the framework of the OPEC + agreements, and we highly appreciate the work that we manage to do with our partners, including with leading partners such as Saudi Arabia,” he told a daily conference call with reporters.

“We highly appreciate our relations and our interaction with Riyadh and we certainly hope that the building of relations and the development of relations between Riyadh and other world capitals will in no way be directed against us.”

As the world faces one of the worst energy supply crunches since the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s, Biden has repeatedly urged the OPEC+ and Saudi Arabia to lift oil production faster than the group is already doing.

But major Gulf producers have little spare production capacity.

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Oil and gas exports, which constitute a significant share Russia’s state budget income, are the centrepiece of Moscow’s response to the sanctions the West has imposed over the conflict in Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Friday that continued sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine risked triggering catastrophic energy price rises for consumers around the world.

Putin says the West has fomented a global economic crisis with soaring inflation by imposing sanctions for what he calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

No shake hands

Ahead of Biden’s arrival in Israel, The Times of Israel reported, ministers were told on Monday that “because of scheduling pressure, COVID, and the hot weather, the U.S. president will not shake hands with the invited [guests at the airport arrival ceremony], and there will be no opportunity for personal photographs.”

Lawmakers were still invited to attend the welcoming ceremony, which took place just after Biden’s plane landed at the Ben Gurion International Airport, which is roughly 10 miles northwest of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.

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