The White House is preparing a “full reset” of relations with Saudi Arabia, CNN TV reported Friday, citing sources in the Joe Biden administration. The main reason is the desire to lower oil prices.
According to anonymous officials quoted by the television, President Biden, who during the election campaign called the Saudi monarchy a “pariah”, among others, in connection with the murder of the oppositionist and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, decided to put aside his antipathy due to the need to control oil prices.
Biden’s visit to Riyadh is planned for July, and a meeting with the Saudi heir to the throne and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salman, is to be the occasion for the reset.
Both sides decided that for the sake of peace and stability in the Middle East, we have to put this aside, one official told CNN. Administration officials say the downstream warming of relations has already had the effect of extending the ceasefire in the Yemen war between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran -linked Houthi movement.
When asked about the matter, Biden did not explicitly confirm that he would visit Saudi Arabia but added that if there is a chance to contribute to peace in the Middle East, then as US President, he must take advantage of it. Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday that while the monarchy must “answer for what it has done to Jamal Khashoggi,” an increase in oil supply is necessary to curb inflation and cut off Russia’s revenue streams. OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, plays a key role in this.
In return, according to CNN, Riyadh is demanding Washington develop a strategy to deal with Iran, as well as security commitments, including the continued supply of missile defense systems.