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US senator urges “freeze” on Saudi cooperation following OPEC+ reduction

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Bob Menendez, the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee chairman, demanded a “freeze” on cooperation with Saudi Arabia on Monday after the Saudi-led OPEC+ announced a reduction in oil output last week against US pressure.

As Washington aims to restrict Russia’s energy income after it invades Ukraine, the Saudi-led OPEC+ grouping decided to curtail output by a quantity equivalent to around 2% of the world supply, reducing production in a competitive market and boosting the risk of higher gasoline prices.

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Menendez issued a statement demanding that “the United States immediately halt all areas of our engagement with Saudi Arabia, including any weapons sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely essential to safeguard US people and interests.”

Amid a worldwide energy crisis, the US has accused the kingdom, the second-largest oil producer in the world, of supporting Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

“Until the Kingdom reevaluates its stance concerning the conflict in Ukraine, I will not approve any collaboration with Riyadh. “Enough is enough,” said Menendez.

The White House described the OPEC+ move as “shortsighted” and expressed disappointment last week.

The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately answer a request for comment.

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