US officials in Saudi Arabia for talks on oil ahead of Biden visit

May 27, 2022: Two top advisers of US President Joe Biden’s administration are on a trip to Saudi Arabia to discuss a possible deal between Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt, to boost oil production and the bilateral relationship between Washington and Riyadh, according to Axios news website which cited three current and former US officials.

White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk and the State Department’s energy envoy Amos Hochstein arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for meetings with senior Saudi officials, the sources said.

News of the trip comes before Biden’s planned trip to the Middle East at the end of June, which includes a visit to Saudi Arabia.

The White House declined to comment, while the Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Axios said.

Biden had repeatedly asked Saudi Arabia and OPEC+ producers to increase the group’s collective output to provide additional market supply and lower crude prices. However, the group has not responded to these demands and has agreed to adhere to its planned gradual production scheme.

Axios reported that the Biden Administration has been pressuring Saudi Arabia for more production to bring gas prices down ahead of the midterm elections and to be able to push for a wide range of sanctions on Russian oil amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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