Oct 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden has "no plans" to meet Saudi crown prince during G20

President Biden has "no plans" to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) during the G20 summit next month, national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

Driving the news: President Biden vowed last week that there would be "consequences" for OPEC's decision to significantly cut oil production in response to falling fuel prices.

  • National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told CNN last week that Biden will "continue to re-evaluate" the U.S.' relationship with Saudi Arabia as a result of the decision.
  • The production cut came despite attempts by the Biden administration to dissuade OPEC+ from taking such a step.

What they're saying: "He has no plans to meet with the Crown Prince at the G20 summit," Sullivan said.

  • "The president did say he is going to re-evaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia because they did side with Russia against the interest of the American people," he added.
  • "This is a relationship that got built over decades on a bipartisan basis. So the president isn't going to act precipitously — he's going to act methodically, strategically 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 he can sit with them in person and work through the options."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) issued a statement last week calling for the U.S. to "immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend U.S. personnel and interests."

  • When asked by host Dana Bash if halting arms sales is a possibility, Sullivan replied, "those options include changes to our approach to security assistance to Saudi Arabia."
  • "I'm not going to get ahead of the president. What I will say is there's nothing imminently moving now," Sullivan said.

The big picture: Despite once vowing to make Saudi Arabia a "pariah," President Biden visited Saudi Arabia in July as part of an effort to recalibrate U.S.-Saudi relations.

Go deeper