In the United States, Democratic senator Bob Menendez on Monday urged the government to stop all cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Last week, a group of oil producers known as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) rebuffed the US by announcing steep production cuts.
Menendez said in a statement that the weapons sales and security cooperation with Saudi Arabia should be halted over the kingdom’s decision to underwrite Russia’s war in Ukraine by slashing oil production.
Now Menendez, who chairs Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said: “There simply is no room to play both sides of this conflict – either you support the rest of the free world in trying to stop a war criminal from violently wiping off an entire country off of the map, or you support him.” He said that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chose the latter in a terrible decision driven by economic self-interest.”
“The United States must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend U.S. personnel and interests,” he added.
The Saudi-led OPEC cartel agreed to reduce output by two million barrels a day from November, leading to fears of rising oil prices.
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OPEC’s decision drew a swift rebuke from Washington, which is trying to isolate Russia by imposing multiple sanctions over the ongoing war.
Menendez said: “As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will not green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough.”
(With inputs from agencies)
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