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04 December 2023

Cheney and Saudi king find common ground on oil

By Agencies


US Vice President Dick Cheney and Saudi King Abdullah discussed chaotic energy markets here, focusing primarily on medium- and long-term ways to promote stability, a US official said Saturday.

In meetings that also included Oil Minister Ali Al Nuaimi, there was "a lot of commonality in their assessment about the structural problems confronted by the global energy market now, and some discussion of probably the way forward," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Cheney and his hosts discussed "the way forward, how we work together to try to stabilise the market and what can be done and what could be done shorter term, but probably more about what's necessary to do over the medium and longer term," the official told reporters.

Over nearly five hours, Cheney and the king also discussed "Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, energy, Israeli-Palestinian issues, some bilateral questions before us," the official said.

They had "very warm meetings, there's obviously a lot of trust and friendship in these meetings, large areas of agreement clearly, in terms of how they assess a lot of the major challenges that confront both the United States and Saudi Arabia in the region.

"So I think on the whole very very productive," the official said. "I can't tell you much about the conversations themselves, these are especially confidential and private conversations.

"They have a lot of important implications, I think, as we sort of work together going forward on a number of problems."

Asked whether Cheney had pressed the king to increase oil production, the official said "as a general matter, the United States believes there ought to be a lot more investment in our own production capabilities."

Cheney was in Saudi Arabia as part of a nine-day trip that has already taken him on surprise visits to Iraq and Afghanistan and a scheduled stop in Oman. He travels to Israel, the West Bank and finally Turkey before heading home.

Cheney had said Monday in Baghdad that he would press the king to send an ambassador to Iraq as part of an effort to compete with Iran for influence in Iraq.

On Afghanistan, Cheney had been set to urge the king to encourage private-sector investment and to step up financial assistance for the US-led reconstruction efforts there.

The US official said that there had been a "back and forth" on such issues but did not offer details. (AFP)