Saudi FM discusses Kingdom’s economy, oil, Iran and US ties in Davos

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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Tuesday at Davos 2023 that the current oil price stability in the market showed that Saudi Arabia was right to take its stance during last year’s disagreement with the US over the OPEC+ decision to reduce oil output targets.

He spoke of energy security: “Energy security is absolutely key. And here what we feel in the kingdom is that stability is absolutely the key to that energy security. So one of what we believe the successes of, for instance, OPEC+ has been it has been able to deliver a relatively stable oil price, one that is predictable by both consumers and producers.”

While renewable resources were becoming more established in the world, the Prince said: “In that interim period, we need to maintain a stable supply of traditional energies and one that is priced in a way that ensures that stability and that I think we have been able to do.”

He also highlighted the economic model of the Kingdom, highlighting that it is going to be this year’s fastest growing economy in the world.

The prince continued to list the Kingdom’s achievements such as the success of Vision 2030 in transitioning the economy in a significant way away from a dependance on hydrocarbons, on oil as a source of revenue for the government and as a proportion of the GDP.

He added: “That process continues to go on. We are activating all kinds of areas of the economy. Unemployment is significantly down, labor force participation up, especially for women.”

Iran

Prince Faisal touched upon the tensions with Iran. “When it comes to Iran, you know, we have reached out. We are trying to find a path to dialog with our neighbors in Iran because we believe very strongly that dialog is the best pathway to resolving differences.”

He continued: “And we feel quite strongly that what we are doing in the Kingdom and what others in the region, especially the GCC countries, are doing in addressing the challenges of their economy and investing in their countries in focusing on development rather than geopolitics, is a strong signal to Iran and others in the region that there is a pathway beyond the traditional arguments and the traditional disputes towards joint prosperity. And I think the more we can build a sense of cooperation in the region, the more we can work together, the more we can deliver not just prosperity for our people, but also for our immediate region and beyond.”

Saudi-US ties

Prince Faisal addressed the question about “speculations that there were some challenges in the relationship” between Saudi Arabia and the US.

“We have a strong partnership with the US and we continue to work through that partnership. That doesn't mean we... always agree. We sometimes disagree.”

He added: “We certainly disagreed on the issue of the oil market. In the end, we believe that I think our position was the correct one and it showed through what we see now. The oil price continues to be stable and we have a responsibility to the broader oil market, to the broader economies of the world to make sure that we continue to provide that stability.”

The Prince said: “But we're going to have a robust dialog with our partners in the US We're going to continue to work through any issues. But overall, this relationship has delivered significant benefit not just for our two countries, but for our region.”

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