US senators have called for halting sales of American weaponry to Riyadh, and pulling out what arms were already there to “right-size [the] relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
The Congress is likely to halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the OPEC+ decision to slash oil production, Senator Chris Coons, a close ally of President Joe Biden, said on Friday.
The Democratic senator from Delaware called the oil-production cut “a punch in the gut” to the West that helped Russia “fund their war of aggression against Ukraine.” Media reports said that US lawmakers aim to punish the Saudi leadership for the move.
“I think you’ll see both the administration and the Senate take action, and one of the most likely actions is to stop any future arms sales,” Coons, a Foreign Relations Committee member, said in a CNN interview.
Another Democratic lawmaker, who is a member of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee as well, also supported the call to suspend planned arms sales to Riyadh, adding that US weapons should be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia as punishment for oil output cuts.
Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut said in a statement on Thursday that “Policy decisions have consequences, and these steps would right-size [the] relationship with Saudi Arabia and help Ukraine.”
“For several years, the US military has deployed Patriot missile defense batteries to Saudi Arabia to help defend oil infrastructure against missile and drone attacks. These advanced air and missile defense systems should be re-deployed to bolster the defenses of eastern flank NATO allies like Poland and Romania, or transferred to our Ukrainian partners,” Murphy stated.
A spokesman for the White House said this week that Biden is re-evaluating the US relationship with Riyadh after his disappointment over the Saudi oil cut.
"There's going to be some consequences for what they've done with Russia," Biden told CNN. "I'm not going to get into what I'd consider and what I have in mind. But there will be consequences."
In the meantime, the US is flooding Ukraine with weapons to fight Russian forces liberating the east of the county.
The Pentagon declared that the total amount of American arms supplied by the Biden administration to Ukraine reached to more than 18.3 billion.
Russia has repeatedly warned that pouring weapons and funds into Ukraine will only add fuel to the fire, increasing the risk of direct confrontation between Russia and the United States.
Last week, OPEC+ approved its deepest cuts to the production of oil since 2020 at a meeting in the Austrian capital, Vienna, curbing supply in an already tight market despite pressure from the United States and others to pump more. The 2-million-barrel cut per day is equal to 2 percent of global supply.
The United States had pushed OPEC not to proceed with the cuts. And earlier, during a visit to Saudi Arabia, Biden had reportedly asked for an increase in production to alleviate an energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
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