President Joe Biden meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Al Salman Royal Palace, on July 15. Saudi Arabia pushed back on criticism from the United States over OPEC on Thursday. File Photo via Saudi Press Agency/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia on Thursday pushed back against criticism from President Joe Biden and U.S. legislative leaders over OPEC's decisions to cut oil production, which will likely lead to an increase in oil and gasoline prices just before the midterm elections.
In a lengthy statement on social media attributed to Saudi Arabia's Foreign Ministry, it defended OPEC for the decision saying it was driven by economic conditions and not by politics in the United States or support for Russia.
While Saudi Arabia is the de facto head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia is an important member of the broader OPEC+ group. Russia is at odds with the United States and western Europe over its current invasion of Ukraine.
"These outcomes are based purely on economic considerations that take into account maintaining a balance of supply and demand in the oil markets, as well as aim to limit volatility that does not serve the interests of consumers and producers," the Saudi statement said.
It added that anyone viewing its decision as embracing Russia's aggression in Ukraine is not true.
"Saudi Arabia affirms that any attempts to distort the facts about the Kingdom's position regarding the crisis in Ukraine are unfortunate and will not change the Kingdom's principled position, including its vote to support U.N. resolutions regarding the Russian-Ukrainian crisis," the statement said.
Biden said that the Saudi government would face "consequences" for its actions, which he described as aligned with Russia.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said OPEC's decision appeared to support Russia and will build Moscow's war chest against Ukraine, underscoring the administration's need to "reevaluate that relationship with Saudi Arabia."
The Saudi statement said its relationship with the United States is a strategic one built over eight decades, based on "mutual respect, enhancing common interests, actively contributing to the regional and international peace and security, counter-terrorism and extremism, and achieving prosperity for the people of the region."