Reviewing US-Saudi ties a ‘positive thing,’ Princess Reema says

“This Kingdom is not the kingdom it was five years ago or the kingdom of 10 years ago; so every piece of analysis that existed is no longer relevant,” Princess Reema bint Bandar said in an interview aired Tuesday.

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Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US has said that reviewing bilateral relations between Riyadh and Washington was a “positive thing,” responding to recent comments by the Biden administration that it wanted to reevaluate the relationship in the aftermath of the OPEC+ decision to cut oil output.

“This Kingdom is not the Kingdom it was five years ago or the Kingdom of 10 years ago; so every piece of analysis that existed is no longer relevant,” Princess Reema bint Bandar said in an interview aired Tuesday.

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“We are a young population; we have a young leadership, and we have an aspiration and a goal to engage with the world in a way we never did before,” Princess Reema said during the interview with CNN.

Ties between the US and Saudi Arabia have been unstable since the Biden administration took office in 2021 and made several foreign policy moves. These included the immediate freeze on US arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, removing the Iran-backed Houthis from the terror blacklist and trying to revive the now-defunct Iran nuclear deal.

After the relationship seemed to be on a path of normalization, the US administration criticized this month’s decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production in the coming months.

US officials accused Saudi Arabia of being behind this “political move,” and saying Riyadh was siding with Russia.

In her interview, Princess Reema said it was clear that the two countries were at “a point of disagreement.”

And she said it was just fine to disagree. “We have disagreed in the past, and we have agreed in the past. But the important this is to recognize the value of this relationship,” the Saudi diplomat said.

Princess Reema said she was in regular contact with the Biden administration, “and frankly it is an administration that I have profound respect for.”

Rejecting the US accusations of the OPEC+ decision, Princess Reema said many people tried to politicize the move. “But you are hearing it from the horse’s mouth: This is not political; this is purely economic, based on the expertise of 40 and 50 years of mapping.”

As for Saudi Arabia being accused of siding with Russia, she pointed to the humanitarian support of over $400 million for Ukraine and another $10 million to Poland as it grappled with Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war. “The Kingdom has a policy of engaging with everybody across the board, those who we agree with and those who we disagree with,” she said.

Princess Reema credited the Saudi relationship with Russia as allowing the Saudi mediation efforts to secure the release of prisoners of war, including two Americans.

Read more: US criticizes OPEC+ decision, accuses organization of siding with Russia

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