National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday said that President Biden will “methodically” re-evaluate relations with Saudi Arabia in the wake of OPEC’s decision to slash oil production by 2 million barrels per day.
The Biden administration has vowed “consequences” for the Saudis, but no concrete steps have been announced. Sullivan told CNN that possible options include changes to US military assistance to Saudi Arabia, which is extremely reliant on US maintenance and arms sales. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and other members of Congress have called for a “freeze” of most US military support for Riyadh.
Sullivan said Biden will “act methodically, strategically and he’s going to take his time to consult with members of both parties, and also to have an opportunity for Congress to return so that he can sit with them in person and work through the options.”
The US has accused Saudi Arabia of aligning with Russia because of the OPEC decision, a claim Riyadh denied. The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week that the decision was made for economic reasons and not to benefit one particular country.
The statement said that the Saudis “totally reject” the US response to the cut in oil production. It said that the Biden administration asked for the announcement to be delayed by a month, which could have delayed the rise in gas prices until after the US midterm elections.