President Donald Trump said the king of Saudi Arabia may not last two weeks without USA support, escalating pressure on one of his closest Arab allies to curb rising oil prices and pay for military protection.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Saudi Arabia's king "might not be there for two weeks" without US military support, as he sought to pressure the close American ally over rising oil prices.
"We protect Saudi Arabia - would you say they're rich?" But I said 'King, we're protecting you, you might not be there for two weeks without us.
"If we look at the two countries' rise of production in comparison to their commitments in the Declaration of Cooperation, we see Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation have had respectively a 346,000 and 250,000 BPD output rise, and this production rise is a violation to the (OPEC) agreement on output cut", Kazempour Ardebili said. "You have to pay for your military, you have to pay'".
The comments by the key oilman in OPEC's largest producer and exporter come just a few days after Brent Crude prices hit earlier this week $85 a barrel-a four-year high-amid concerns that OPEC and allies are not doing enough to offset declining Iranian oil exports and plunging Venezuelan production. The Trump administration has been criticizing Saudi Arabia for high oil prices.
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Mexican-made products were hit by those actions, which were aimed at protecting USA producers from import surges. Canadian leaders have objected to Trump's decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel, citing national security.
Trump made Saudi Arabia his first stop on his maiden worldwide trip as president a year ago.
Trump added that he had spoken to Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday to make the same point, the AFP news agency reported.
The US military was stationed in Saudi Arabia from the first Gulf War against Iraq in 1990 to 2003, when then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced pullout.
Driving oil higher is a supply pinch as Iranian oil buyers like South Korea and India have started to scale back purchases ahead of the implementation of USA sanctions against Iran despite some sentiment that the sanctions won't stick.
"OPEC and OPEC nations are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world, and I don't like it". South Korea and Japan also have the United States to thank for stability in the Asian region, according to Trump, who previously demanded increased payments from USA allies to keep American bases in their countries.