US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the “positive” steps Saudi Arabia is taking towards Ukraine are not enough to offset the kingdom’s support for the OPEC+ decision to cut oil production.
The oil-producing group OPEC+ angered US President Joe Biden when it decided to cut production by two million barrels per day from November, adding pressure to consumer prices ahead of the US midterm elections in November while boosting revenues for Russia.
The Biden administration has publicly accused the Saudi-led OPEC+ group of “alignment” with Russia. The kingdom has defended the decision to cut production as necessary to stimulate investment in fossil fuels and prop up prices amid fears of a global economic slowdown.
Blinken acknowledged that Saudi Arabia has since voted with the United States to condemn Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory and announced $400 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
“These are positive developments,” Blinken said at the Bloomberg News event. It does not make up for the decision made by OPEC+ on production. But we take note of that.”
Blinken’s comments come as Saudi Arabia hosts its first investment conference – dubbed “Davos in the Desert”.
The kingdom has removed US officials from attending the event, which has previously been attended by prominent US businessmen including JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman and David Solomon, the head of Goldman Sachs.
Saudi officials used their platform at the event to counter the American narrative that it had betrayed Washington by cutting production.