Sunday, March 13, 2022

REPORT: Saudi, UAE Leaders Ignore Biden When He Calls to Talk Gas Prices; Is Anyone Taking Joe Seriously?

Source: NY Post

Published: March 8, 2022

By: Steven Nelson

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would not come to the phone when President Biden tried to call them to discuss boosting oil exports to offset price hikes linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a report.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan declined Biden’s attempted outreach, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

“There was some expectation of a phone call, but it didn’t happen,“ a US official told the newspaper. ”It was part of turning on the spigot [of Saudi oil].”


Biden on Tuesday morning banned Russian oil imports and said gasoline prices would increase even more after hitting an all-time high of $4.17 per gallon on average.

President Biden banned Russian oil imports on March 8, 2022. - REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Although Biden recently released some oil from the US strategic reserve, he told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he “can’t do much right now” to stop gas prices from increasing.

Biden is attempting to woo an array of oil-producing autocracies — including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela — to offset the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on energy markets.

Biden reportedly is considering a trip to Saudi Arabia this spring to resolve hard feelings with bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler, who the US intelligence community believes ordered the 2018 operation that dismembered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi with a bone saw.

US intelligence believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman order the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. - REUTERS/File Photo


US diplomats, meanwhile, are working to broker a new nuclear deal with Iran in exchange for sanctions relief and other diplomats were dispatched to Caracas to smooth over a rift with Venezuela’s socialist strongman Nicolas Maduro, who the US government does not recognize as the country’s legitimate ruler.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Biden hosted at the White House the leaders of various natural gas producers, including Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store and emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, whose supplies were needed to offset a potential shortage of natural gas in Europe.

But Biden has faced a harder sell with oil producers as he fends off Republican accusations that his own policies are partially to blame. Biden canceled construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline last year and attempted to halt new drilling permits on public land.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan did not speak to Biden about a potential oil deal on March 8, 2022, according to a report. - Oussama Lacfer/Ministry of Presidential Affairs/WAM/Handout via REUTERS

Biden signaled a change in tone toward Saudi Arabia after taking office and withdrew US support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen’s civil war. Although he didn’t sanction the crown prince for Khashoggi’s murder, Biden largely deals with his father, 86-year-old King Salman, with whom he spoke on Feb 9.

The UAE is a close ally of Saudi Arabia. In 2020, the UAE became the third Arab country to recognize Israel under the Trump administration-negotiated Abraham Accords. Other Arab countries, including Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, closely followed suit.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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