In a significant move, Pakistan on Tuesday put its weight behind Saudi Arabia, which has locked horns with the United States over the cut in oil supply in international market.
Saudi Arabia and Russia, which lead the OPEC + cartel, recently decided to cut crude oil supply by 2 million barrels a day in order to avoid a plunge in the oil prices in the international markets because of fear of global economic recession.
The United States, however, strongly reacted to the OPEC + decision with President Joe Biden announcing a review of bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia. Biden visited Saudi Arabia in July to meet leaders of oil rich Gulf countries including Saudi de facto ruler Muhammad bin Salman as part of his efforts to push for increase in oil supplies. He met MBS despite promising in the election campaign to make him a pariah because of his alleged role in the murder of a Saudi American journalist.
The Ukraine conflict has disrupted the supply chain and led to the increase in crude oil prices, something that also affected the Americans with a hike in petrol prices.
Biden wanted Saudi Arabia to increase the oil supply in order to lower the prices at home ahead of the crucial midterm elections. The Saudi crown prince instead backed a move to cut oil supplies.
Western commentators believe that Saudi Arabia clearly sided with Russia as increase in oil prices would only benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Interestingly, Pakistan was too hoping for decrease in the international crude oil prices because that would have given the beleaguered government some cushion to provide relief to the inflation-hit people.
But despite the OPEC + decision that would create more problems for the struggling Pakistan economy, Islamabad decided to back Riyadh.
“In the wake of statements made against the Kingdom in the context of the OPEC + decision, Pakistan expresses solidarity with the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a statement issued here by the foreign office read.
“We appreciate the concerns of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for avoiding market volatility and ensuring global economic stability,” it added.