White House says recent Saudi steps supporting Ukraine are noteworthy as Biden reviews relationship, states CNN news article.
Taking notice of steps Saudi Arabia
The White House said Tuesday it was taking notice of steps Saudi Arabia has taken in recent days to support Ukraine as President Joe Biden weighs a recalibration of US-Saudi ties.
The comment was notable because Biden has previously accused Riyadh of siding with Russia after the Saudi-led OPEC+ announced a cut in oil production, a step that could cause energy prices to rise.
Saudi officials vehemently denied that was the case, but Biden nonetheless vowed “consequences” for the step and his aides said Biden would rethink Washington’s longstanding ties to the Gulf monarchy.
Biden continues to “strategically think through what the review process is and how we move forward with this relationship,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
But she said the White House was taking note of recent steps showing Saudi Arabia on the side of Ukraine.
“We’ve taken note since the OPEC plus cut that Saudi Arabia voted against Russia at the United Nations and also pledged $4 million to support Ukraine’s reconstruction and humanitarian needs,” Jean-Pierre said. “These steps do not compensate, though, for the production cut, but they are noteworthy.”
“We’ll be watching to see what Saudi Arabia does over the coming weeks and will inform our consultations and review,” she said.
Saudi Arabia accused
The comments were more conciliatory than previous statements from the administration, which accused Saudi Arabia of trying to “spin or deflect” its oil cut decision.
Biden himself told CNN’s Jake Tapper he was looking to take action against the kingdom.
“There’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve done, with Russia,” the President said.
But on Tuesday, Jean-Pierre said the more recent steps would be taken into consideration as Biden formulates a response.
“We’ve been very clear. We are noticing some actions that they’ve taken, as I just laid out, at the United Nations and what Saudi Arabia was able to do in helping Ukraine because that is something that is incredibly important,” Jean-Pierre said.
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