Saudi prince MBS warned US of economic pain amid oil feud last year: Report

After Biden said it would impose penalties on Saudi Arabia for slashing oil production, MBS allegedly said he would not deal with the US anymore

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Photo: Bloomberg

BS Web Team New Delhi

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After US President Joe Biden vowed to impose "consequences" on Saudi Arabia for slashing oil production last year, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the West Asian nation's crown prince, threatened to alter the relationship between the two nations, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Friday, citing a classified document.

MBS said it would result in "major economic consequences for Washington" and that "he will not deal with the US administration anymore", the report said.

In the run-up to the presidential elections, Biden pledged that he would make Saudi Arabia a "pariah". However, eight months into his presidency, the two countries continue to engage diplomatically. Earlier this week, MBS met US secretary of state Antony Blinken outside Jeddah.

The WSJ report said that even though Biden scarcely communicates with MBS, the US diplomats have continued their effort to rebuild ties with the West Asian nation, especially on topics like the peace deal in Yemen, ceasefire in Sudan, counterterrorism as well as supply of oil.

The report also quoted some officials as saying that the relationship between the two countries is "too important" for the Western nation to let languish. This is due to "Riyadh's economic and political clout and Beijing's courtship of traditional US partners" in the region.

After a 1 hour and 40 minutes-long meeting with MBS, Blinken said, "Together, we can drive real progress for all our people, not only to address the challenges or crises of the moment but to chart an affirmative vision for our shared future."

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The two had a "candid, open" conversation on topics like Yemen conflict, human rights and fighting in Sudan.

It is unclear whether the threat was conveyed by MBS directly to US officials or intercepted, but it shows the problematic nature of this bilateral relationship.

Just days before Blinken's visit, Saudi Arabia announced its decision to deepen the oil production cuts in July.

The US, on the other hand, has stepped up its dealings with Saudi Arabia. Apart from Blinken, several high-level US officials have visited the country. These include US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, CIA director William J Burns, Biden's adviser Brett McGurk, and his senior energy security official Amos Hochstein.

First Published: Jun 9 2023 | 10:11 AM IST

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