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President Joe Biden said on Thursday that he would not ask Saudi leaders to increase oil production during his trip to Saudi Arabia next month, stressing that was “not the purpose of the trip”, while blaming exorbitant gas prices in the United States. “Russia, Russia, Russia.”
The president, in a rare press conference on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Spain on Thursday, answered several questions from reporters, ranging from US inflation to continued support for Ukraine and more.
Biden was asked if he would ask the crown prince of Saudi Arabia’s king during his trip next month to boost oil production as Americans continue to feel pain at the pumps, and asked how he would hold the kingdom accountable amid its human rights. abuses.
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“Well, first of all, that’s not the purpose of the trip,” the president said, noting that he will start in Israel. “Israelis think it’s really important that I make the trip,” he continued.
“What are we talking about in dealing with this trip before I go, as I said, to go to Israel to meet with Israeli leaders to affirm the unbreakable bond that Israel and the United States have,” he said. Biden said, adding that part of the “goal” of the Middle East trip is “to deepen Israel’s integration in the region, which I think is good for peace and good for security. of Israel”.
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“And that’s why Israeli leaders came out so strongly in favor of my trip to Arabia,” he said, adding that he would also “try to reduce the death toll and the war that is going on. in Yemen,” and “a whole range of things that go far beyond anything to do with Saudi Arabia in particular.”
When asked if he would ask Saudi leaders for an increase in oil production, Biden replied, “No.”
“It’s the meeting of all the Gulf states. I indicated to them that I thought they should increase oil production, generically, not for the Saudis in particular,” Biden said. “And I think we’ll – hopefully see them and their own interests come to the conclusion that that makes sense.”
But the president, at the press conference, again blamed Russia for rising gas prices in the United States.
The President outlined the measures he has taken to deal with soaring fuel prices, including the release of one million barrels of oil per day from the United States oil reserve, in addition to his efforts to bring other nations to withdraw a total of 240 million barrels from the strategic petroleum reserve.
The president added that he asked Congress to temporarily end the tax on gasoline at the pump and called on states to do the same.
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“If we do these things, it is estimated that we could lower tomorrow – if they, Congress agreed and the states agreed – we could lower the price of oil by a dollar a gallon at the pump in that range,” Biden said. , adding that it could bring “immediate relief”.
He added: “And so that’s the way I think we should be doing it, and I think it would also have a positive impact on the price at the pump.”
“At the end of the day, the reason gas prices are up is because of Russia, Russia, Russia,” Biden continued. “The reason the food crisis exists is because Russia, Russia, doesn’t allow grain out of Ukraine.”
Regarding US support for Ukraine, the president said he and his NATO allies have resolved to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”
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“We’re going to stay with Ukraine and all the allies are going to stay with Ukraine for as long as it takes to, in fact, make sure they’re not defeated by Ukraine, and excuse me, by Russia,” Biden said, noting that Ukraine has “already dealt a severe blow to Russia.”
He added: “Ukraine has demonstrated that in fact it can continue to resist Russian aggression. And so I don’t know how it’s going to end, but it’s not going to end with a Russian defeat of the ‘Ukraine in Ukraine.’
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