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UK’s Johnson makes plea for more oil in UAE, Saudi Arabia visits

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen during a photo op with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during his visit to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
Greg Nash

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he made the case to steady rising gas prices with oil-producing nations Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during a visit to the Middle East this week.

Johnson visited Saudi Arabia and the UAE seeking to promote more oil production after gas prices skyrocketed globally amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though his visit also followed Saudi Arabia’s mass execution on Saturday of 81 people convicted of various crimes.

The prime minister told The Guardian he raised human rights concerns with Saudi Arabia, but said the country was “changing” and there was agreement with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on avoiding “damaging economic consequences.”

“We see value in engaging with Saudi Arabia and why we see value in the partnership,” he told the British outlet.

Johnson was criticized by some for the visit, including human rights group Reprieve, which said three more people were executed by Saudi Arabia during the prime minister’s visit to the country.

“Travelling to Saudi Arabia after a mass execution signaled the UK will tolerate the gravest human rights abuses,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “Today’s executions are the immediate result. Johnson has blood on his hands.”

The U.S., which last week banned Russian oil imports, has joined calls for increased oil production from OPEC+, a group of oil-producing nations that includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week said it was important oil-producing nations “stabilize global energy markets, to make sure that there remains an abundant supply of energy around the world.” 

Average gas prices in the U.S. hit $4.34 per gallon on Wednesday, according to Gasbuddy.

Tags Antony Blinken Boris Johnson Inflation oil Russia-Ukraine Saudi Arabia
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