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Saudi Arabia threatens oil cutoff

BEIRUT, Oct. 19, 1973 (UPI) - Saudi Arabia, largest of the Middle East oil suppliers, has cut its oil production by 10 per cent and threatened a total cutoff of U.S. shipments unless the United States halts military aid to Israel. "The government of King Faisal decided to reduce its production by 10 per cent immediately beginning today and until the end of November," said Saudi Arabia's Radio Riyadh yesterday.

The cutback was twice as high as that decided on by 11 Arab oil ministers at a meeting Wednesday in Kuwait.

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The broadcast, quoting a government statement, said the Saudi government has been trying, so far without results, to persuade the United States to stop sending military aid to Israel.

"If these efforts do not lead to immediate results," the radio said, "the government of the kingdom will stop the flow of oil to America."

Saudi Arabia supplies an average of 434,000 barrels of per day -- or 16 per cent of crude oil imported into the United States - which is just over 2 per cent of the 17 million barrels per day of crude oil consumed by the United States.

After November, the radio said, Saudi oil will be reduced monthly in accordance with the decision made Wednesday in Kuwait by oil ministers of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).

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The ministers of Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Bahrain, Dubai, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Syria agreed to cut their oil production by 5 per cent a month until Israel withdraws from occupied Arab territories and restores the "rights of the Palestinian people."

Earlier yesterday in London, a dispatch from the official Libyan News Agency said Libya proposed that Arab governments immediately halt all oil shipments to the United States and withdraw their deposits from American banks to pressure Washington into changing its Middle East policy.

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