Saudi Arabia denies reports relations with US are strained

The US provides security and defense support to Saudi Arabia that goes beyond weapons sales. PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH (BLOOMBERG) - Saudi Arabia denied recent reports that its ties with the United States are under severe strain.

The relationship "is historic and remains strong," the Saudi embassy in Washington said in a statement on Thursday (April 21). "There is daily contact between officials on an institutional level and there is close coordination on issues" such as security, investments and energy.

The statement was a response to a Wall Street Journal article from Tuesday that said the Saudi-US relationship had "hit its lowest point in decades."

Bloomberg News and other media have also reported on rising tensions between the two allies.

The US has been frustrated by Saudi Arabia's refusal to hike oil production and help bring down global fuel prices in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine.

The Saudi government wants the US to do more to counter missile attacks on the kingdom from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Riyadh is also wary of Washington's attempts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, its main regional rival.

"Over the course of the last 77 years of Saudi-US relations, there have been many disagreements," the Saudi embassy said. "But that has never stopped the two countries from finding a way to work together."

The US and Saudi Arabia have been allies since soon after the kingdom's founding in the early 1930s, with American companies discovering oil later in the decade.

The US provides security and defense support to the country that goes beyond weapons sales.

Ties have soured, however, since the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in 2018.

The killing sparked an international outcry and US President Joe Biden promised during his election campaign to turn the kingdom into a "pariah" over its human rights record.

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