© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with his Latvian counterpart Krisjanis Karins (not pictured) during a meeting at Downing Street, in London, Britain, March 14, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool
ABU DHABI (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the need to work together to stabilise global energy markets in talks with United Arab Emirates’ de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on Wednesday, Johnson’s office said.
Johnson met the prince on the first stop of a visit to the Gulf as part of efforts to secure more oil supplies and increase pressure on President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He was due in Saudi Arabia later on Wednesday.
With Britain, like much of the West, facing spiralling energy prices, Johnson is keen to encourage producers to increase output and secure other supplies to try to help consumers and reduce reliance on Russian exports.
So far Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose close ties with Washington are under strain, have snubbed U.S. pleas to ramp up oil production to tame soaring crude prices that threaten global recession after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons and starve Putin’s addiction to oil and gas,” Johnson said before his meetings. “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are key international partners in that effort.”
The two Gulf states are among the few OPEC oil exporters with spare oil capacity to raise output and potentially offset supply losses from Russia. But they have tried to steer a neutral stance between Western allies and Moscow, their partner in an oil producers’ grouping known as OPEC+.
The group has been raising output gradually each month by 400,000 barrels a day, resisting pressure to act more quickly.
The UAE remains committed to the OPEC+ deal, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters before the meeting.
The wealthy Gulf state has deepened ties with Moscow and Beijing in the last few years and abstained last month in a U.S.-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, which Russia has described as a “special military operation”.
Johnson “set out his deep concerns about the chaos unleashed by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and stressed the importance of working together to improve stability in the global energy market”, his office said in a statement.
Johnson and the crown prince also agreed on the need to bolster security, defence and intelligence cooperation to counter threats including from Houthi forces who have fought a lengthy conflict in Yemen against Saudi and UAE forces.
Johnson’s planned talks in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will make him only the second major Western leader to visit the kingdom since journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s 2018 killing by Saudi government agents in Istanbul.
His visit also comes four days after Saudi Arabia executed 81 men, the largest number in a single day for decades, for offences ranging from joining militant groups to holding “deviant beliefs”.
Asked about criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, Johnson said: “I’ve raised all those issues many, many times over the past … and I’ll raise them all again today.
“But we have long, long standing relationships with this part of the world and we need to recognise the very important relationship that we have … and not just in hydrocarbons.”
($1 = 0.7655 pound)
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.