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Saudi ambassador welcomes review of US ties at time when relationship is at ‘point of disagreement’

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States affirmed to CNN that, though Riyadh’s relationship with Washington is at a “level of disagreement” in gentle of OPEC+’s determination to slash oil manufacturing, the ties between the 2 longtime allies stay robust.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, in her first televised interview with worldwide media since turning into the ambassador in early 2019, instructed CNN’s Becky Anderson that “it’s OK to disagree.”

“Our relationship is greater than the sale of arms and it’s greater than the alternate of oil,” Princess Reema stated within the interview, which aired Tuesday.

The Saudi-led OPEC+ oil cartel introduced earlier this month it could minimize output by 2 million barrels per day, a call that rebuffed heavy lobbying from US administration officers and prompted a Biden administration review of the longstanding relationship between the 2 international locations. The minimize in oil manufacturing aligns with Russian pursuits and is especially politically troublesome for US President Joe Biden, coming within the dwelling stretch of the midterm election season.

Saudi officers have insisted that the manufacturing minimize is being executed to guard the nation’s financial pursuits, however the determination set off bipartisan rage in Washington, with a number of lawmakers touting punitive measures reminiscent of stopping the sale of arms, pulling US troops out of the area and limiting total ties with the dominion.

Princess Reema rejected the accusation that the dominion is cooperating with Russia, saying it engages with “everyone throughout the board, these we agree with and people we disagree with.”

Saudi Arabia is likely one of the largest oil producers on this planet, however Princess Reema stated underneath Imaginative and prescient 2030, the dominion is “reframing itself to be one of many largest power producers” by investing billions of {dollars} in renewables whereas guaranteeing the steadiness of the oil market.

“We wish to have this subsequent chapter of unpolluted power as a partnership, as a result of that’s the long run. This argument about OPEC is right now as a result of the world is tense. However it’s not the dialog of the long run,” she added.

The princess was appointed ambassador to Washington in 2019, at a time when Saudi-US relations had been extraordinarily frosty following the homicide of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA has concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing, which he denies.

In her interview with Anderson, Princess Reema stated she welcomed a US overview of the connection between the 2 international locations, as a result of “the dominion will not be what it was once 5 years in the past.”

“I deal very usually with the administration, and albeit, it’s an administration that I’ve profound respect for. I’ve solely had probably the most gracious and direct communication, as we must always. That’s how companions talk with one another,” she continued.

Earlier than turning into ambassador, the princess was an advocate for girls’s rights within the kingdom and labored with the Ministry of Training to incorporate bodily schooling for women in faculties. However regardless of vital reforms launched by the Saudi authorities, there’s nonetheless little or no room for public dissent, particularly for girls. In August, Saudi girls’s rights campaigner Salma al-Shehab was sentenced to 34 years in prison for her exercise on Twitter, in line with courtroom paperwork considered by CNN.

Requested how she squares the empowerment of ladies within the kingdom amid a wave of arrests that critics have deemed harsh and unreasonable, Princess Reema stated some reforms occur sooner than others.

“I’ll inform you their instances are underneath overview. I imagine they’re underneath attraction. And I do imagine that the system will right itself if that’s what’s crucial,” she stated.

“The US had a 200-year journey of transformation,” Princess Reema continued. “We’ve had 80. We’re totally different folks in a unique place, and we’re going to get there as a result of we imagine in the identical factor. We imagine within the set of alternatives for our folks. And we’re very happy with the modifications which have occurred.”

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