A Wall Street Journal report states that Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates leaders declined to take calls from US President Joe Biden. Biden has been trying to gather international support for Ukraine in a bid to arrest the rising oil prices. However, Prince Mohammed and Sheikh Mohammad of Saudi Arabia and UAE took calls of Russian President Vladimir Putin last week. They also spoke to Ukraine President. Citing a Saudi official, WSJ reported that US has requested the Saudi Prince to mediate the Russia-Ukraine conflict which the Kingdom will be ’embarking upon’.
As per the report, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan have both declined to take US President Joe Biden’s calls in recent weeks. Saudi officials have been quite critical of the US and its policy in the Gulf amid the deteriorating relationship under Biden administration. As per the report, they wanted more support from the US in Yemen’s civil war as well as legal immunity to Prince Mohammed in the US. The Saudi Arabia Crown Prince is facing multiple lawsuits in the US including one over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
During 2020 US Presidential elections, Joe Biden had vowed to treat the Saudi kingdom as ‘pariah’ state after Khashoggi’s death in 2018. Biden had then said that his plan was to make Saudis “pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are.” On the Saudi Royal Family, Biden had said they have “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia.”
The Russia-Ukraine war has triggered fear of surge in oil prices but Saudi and UAE have both said that they will be sticking to the production plan approved between OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and a group of other producers led by Russia. Russia is one of the top oil producing nations.
Meanwhile, both the leaders took phone calls from Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.