Sullivan says Biden won’t meet with Saudi crown prince at G-20 summit
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday indicated President Biden will not meet with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at next month’s Group of Twenty (G-20) summit.
The White House has said it will reevaluate the U.S.-Saudi relationship after Riyadh and its oil-exporting allies agreed to a production cut, which infuriated the Biden administration and lawmakers.
“He has no plans to meet with the crown prince at the G-20 summit,” Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” a reference to next month’s meeting of the leaders of the world’s 20 wealthiest democracies in Indonesia.
Earlier this month, OPEC+ decided to cut daily oil production by 2 million barrels per day, putting upward pressure on prices by reducing supply and also likely boosting Russia’s oil-exporting revenue to finance its invasion of Ukraine.
The move was a blow to the Biden administration, which has grappled with high oil prices and inflation exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The president said during his campaign he would make the country a “pariah” for the killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, which the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment concluded was ordered by the crown prince.
But Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia in July, although the White House has insisted the trip was not to lobby for an increase in the country’s oil exports.
“[Biden] is focused, however, on making sure that through every engagement that he has across the board, he’s looking out for not just the U.S. but for our allies as well,” Sullivan said on CNN.
“One of the things that he was able to achieve in that meeting in July was the historic opening of Saudi airspace to Israeli commercial air traffic, the first step Saudi Arabia has ever taken on a path towards normalization with Israel, which we believe was a positive thing for him to be able to deliver for a strong partner of ours,” Sullivan continued.
After OPEC+ announced its production cut, some lawmakers suggested the U.S. should stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia and withdraw troops from the country in response.
“This is a relationship that got built over decades on a bipartisan basis,” Sullivan told Bash on Sunday.
“And so the president isn’t going to act precipitously, he’s going to act methodically, strategically,” he added. “And he’s going to take his time to consult with members of both parties, and also to have an opportunity for Congress to return so that he can sit with them in person.”
–-Updated at 10:54 a.m.