Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman praised his relationship with President Donald Trump, days after the US leader warned that the oil-rich kingdom’s leadership might not last “two weeks” without American support.
“I love working with him,” the young prince told Bloomberg in an interview at the royal palace in Riyadh on Wednesday. “You know, you have to accept that any friend will say good things and bad things.”
Trump has increased his verbal attacks on OPEC as global benchmark Brent crude oil has risen to a four-year high. At the United Nations last month, Trump said OPEC was “ripping off the rest of the world” with crude prices, now about $85 a barrel. He warned that “we are not going to put up with these horrible prices much longer.”
Trump has heaped particular pressure on Saudi Arabia, the world’s top exporter of crude, to do more to ease prices, by linking the American military presence in the Persian Gulf to the kingdom’s oil-production policy.
“How about our military deals where we protect rich nations that we don’t get reimbursed?” Trump told a campaign rally in Mississippi Tuesday. “I love the king, King Salman, but I said, ‘King, we’re protecting you. You have to pay for your military, you have to pay.’”
“We never in the history of Saudi Arabia decided that this is the right or wrong oil price,” said Prince Mohammed, 33, in the interview. “The oil price depends on trade, consumer and supplier, and they decide the oil price based on trade and supply and demand. What we are committed to in Saudi Arabia is to make sure there is no shortage of supply.”
The prince countered Trump’s accusation that Saudi Arabia isn’t paying for US military support. “We believe that all the armaments we have from the United States of America are paid for, it’s not free armament,” he said. “So ever since the relationship started between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, we’ve bought everything with money.”