Biden: I won't directly ask Saudis to increase oil production during visit
US President Joe Biden has said he will not directly request the leaders of Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to curb soaring crude prices when he visits the kingdom next month.
According to Press TV, speaking at a press conference in Madrid, Spain, Biden on Thursday insisted that his trip to West Asia is not focused on one-on-one engagement with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
“That’s not the purpose of the trip,” Biden said when asked about direct engagement with Saudi leadership.
Biden said that Americans will have to deal with high gas prices for "as long as it takes" to defeat Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.
Biden will visit West Asia in mid-July as the US and other countries are facing soaring fuel prices that are driving up inflation.
Biden has sought to play down any direct talks with the Saudi Crown Prince, who was accused by American intelligence of ordering the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Biden said he would not particularly ask Saudi leaders to increase oil production, instead, he said he would continue to make the case that all Persian Gulf states should raise oil output.
"I've indicated to them that I thought they should be increasing oil production generically, not to the Saudis, particularly," Biden told reporters.
Biden claimed the agenda of West Asia trip includes much more than energy policy and reiterated that the meetings will include leaders from many Persian Gulf nations.
"It’s in Saudi Arabia, but it’s not about Saudi Arabia," he said.
US officials said that Biden will meet separately with King Salman and his team on the trip, which will include the crown prince and other Saudi officials.
The price for a gallon has doubled since Biden took office in January last year, but that same gallon costs $4.86 on Thursday, down slightly from the $4.94 that they were paying a week ago, according to data from the non-profit American Automobile Association (AAA). The association said the average gallon of gas cost only $2.39 during the first week of Biden’s presidency.
The gasoline prices are a problem for Biden and his fellow Democrats ahead of the November midterm congressional elections.
Since the beginning of Russia's military operation in Ukraine and the ensuing spikes in oil prices, the US president has made great efforts to control fuel prices as well as isolate Russia.
Many analysts believe that Biden's current move to travel to Saudi Arabia is in line with the effort.