Saudi crown prince discusses Ukraine conflict, OPEC with the Russian President Vladimir Putin

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Saudi Arabia Saudi ArabiaSaudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday in their second phone contact since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, maintaining an autonomous course away from US influence. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the two talked about bilateral ties and “measures to improve them in all spheres.”

According to a Saudi readout of the call, the crown prince expressed support for attempts to find a peaceful solution to Ukraine’s problem. The monarchy recently launched a humanitarian aid package of $10 million for Ukrainian refugees. The crown prince “got a telephone call Saturday from President Vladimir Putin of the Federal Republic of Russia,” according to the Saudi state service. “Bilateral ties between the two nations and measures of expanding them in all spheres in a way that achieves the interests of the two countries and their friendly peoples were discussed,” it said during the phone discussion.

“The crown prince underlined the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s support for measures that would lead to a peaceful solution to the issue in Ukraine and achieve security and stability,” the statement said. According to the Kremlin’s statement, the two also addressed the ongoing violence in Yemen, where the UN brokered a two-month cease-fire with Saudi Arabia at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During the phone chat, the two presidents also “provided a good appraisal” of collaborative cooperation in the OPEC+ arrangement, according to Moscow.

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Despite US pressure, the oil accord has put a careful check on big producers’ production. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the 13-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, has so far rejected requests to increase output. Another 10 nations, including Russia, make up OPEC+. Last month, Saudi oil Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman remarked, “I absolutely think that if it weren’t for OPEC+ existing, we wouldn’t be celebrating a sustainable energy market… even with today’s volatility.” “Volatility would have been considerably worse if OPEC had not banded together and existed,” the Saudi minister said at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Saudi Arabia’s leader has also hinted at deeper relations with China. A phone chat between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz took place on Friday. According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, the Saudi crown prince hailed China as an important comprehensive strategic partner of Saudi Arabia during the call.

Experts believe that current events are revealing flaws in Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the United States. Riyadh has so far refrained from criticizing Russia’s incursion, instead reiterating its support for OPEC+. Saudi Arabia is broadening its ties in response to US dependability in the face of Iranian threats. Experts suggest that most of the problem stems from US policy against Iran, Saudi Arabia’s key regional foe.

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