Biden will act ‘methodically’ in re-evaluating Saudi relations

Biden will act ‘methodically’ in re-evaluating Saudi relations

WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will act “methodically” in deciding how to respond to Saudi Arabia over oil production cuts, but options include changes in U.S. security assistance, the White House national security adviser said on Sunday Jake Sullivan.

Sullivan, speaking on CNN, said no changes in US-Saudi relations were imminent as Biden reassessed them.

“So the president will not act rashly. He will act methodically, strategically, and take the time to consult with members of both parties, as well as have an opportunity for Congress to come back so he can sit down with them personally and work out the options,” he said. Sullivan.

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A day after OPEC+ oil producers announced production cuts last week over US objections, Biden promised to impose “consequences” on Saudi Arabia for siding with Russia in supporting the cuts. The OPEC+ move undermines plans by Western countries to cap the price of Russian oil exports in response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for a halt most US arms sales to Saudi Arabia after the move by OPEC+.

Biden’s options “include changes in our approach to security assistance to Saudi Arabia, but I won’t preempt the president. What I will say is that nothing is imminent,” Sullivan said, adding that there was time for Biden to consult with Congress.

Sullivan said Biden has no plans to meet with Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, at the November G20 summit in Indonesia.

Asked if Biden would consider Russia’s use of a small tactical nuclear weapon or a detonation in the Black Sea less serious than a larger bomb, Sullivan said it was “dangerous” to make such distinctions, and the president would not do so.

“The use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine is the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine. We will not cut salami,” Sullivan added.

He said it was the duty of NATO allies and other responsible countries, including China and India, to “send a very clear and decisive message to Russia that it should not consider using nuclear weapons in this conflict.”

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Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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