President Joe Biden has no intention of stopping arms dealing to Saudi Arabia despite the decision by OPEC to cut oil supply against the wishes of the Biden administration.
State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said at Thursday’s press briefing the administration has “no plans” to curtail military cooperation with the Saudi Kingdom even after the country and its OPEC partners spurned Biden. The U.S. has played a key logistical role in the Saudi war in Yemen and supplies large amounts of advanced weapons to the Kingdom.
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee referenced calls from lawmakers to stop weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, and asked Patel if “those suggestions” are “good ones.”
“We have no plans to do that at the moment, to withdraw arms, or as you so indicated in your question,” Patel answered. “What I would reiterate, and you saw Secretary Blinken speak to this on his travels, is that we have a multiplicity of interests with regards to Saudi Arabia.”
Lee followed up, asking if that meant the idea of stopping arms sales was a non-starter. “I simply — we have no plans to take such actions,” Patel said. (RELATED: ‘OPEC Has Just Done That’: Doocy Says Some People Do Actually ‘F*ck’ With Biden)
Oil prices have reached historic highs in recent months, hurting Biden’s approval domestically as Americans have been forced to pay more for gas at the pump. Biden has pleaded with OPEC to pump more oil, not less, but the organization voted Wednesday to do the opposite, cutting production and likely driving up prices.
Now, the White House has pivoted to calling for less reliance on OPEC’s oil, and is turning to Venezuela to try and make up the production gap. Biden had stated on the campaign trail he would be tougher on Saudi Arabia than his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, but many Kingdom critics in the US have accused Biden of breaking that promise by continuing to sell weapons to the regime.