Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is calling on the Biden administration to halt cooperation with Saudi Arabia, a key Middle East ally, following its decision to cut oil production, a move that could benefit Russia as it continues to wage war on Ukraine .
“The United States must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend American personnel and interests,” wrote Menendez, who represents New Jersey and serves as chairman of the US government. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
He said the decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+), a group of oil-exporting nations that includes Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq and Iran, would “help draw [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s War.”
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“There is simply no room to play both sides of this conflict – either you support the rest of the free world in trying to stop a war criminal from violently wiping an entire country off the map, or you support him,” wrote he. . “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia chose the latter in a terrible decision driven by economic self-interest.”
Melendez said he will not “green light” any cooperation with Saudi Arabia until it reverses its decision. Other lawmakers have also expressed outrage at the move.
“What Saudi Arabia did to help Putin continue waging his despicable, vicious war against Ukraine will long be remembered by Americans,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted last week. “We are looking at all the legislative tools to best deal with this appalling and deeply cynical act, including the NOPEC bill.”
Other Democrats have introduced legislation that would withdraw US troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates within 90 days of its passage in response to the OPEC decision.
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The move to scale back oil production by 2 million barrels per day could result in an increase in gas prices, which could affect the upcoming midterm elections.