DAVOS: The “strong partnership” between Saudi Arabia and the US in ensuring energy market stability will be a key factor in global economic recovery, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Kingdom’s foreign minister, told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.
Discussing the global energy and cost-of-living crises, Prince Faisal also said that the Kingdom’s position on an OPEC+ decision last year to reduce oil output targets was correct, despite opposition from the US.
However, the Saudi minister said that the Kingdom still has a strong relationship with Washington, even if the two do not “always agree.”
As the world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has a responsibility to continue providing stability to oil markets, Prince Faisal said, adding that the Kingdom and US will continue to engage in dialogue to work toward that goal.
“We have a strong partnership with the US and we continue to work through that partnership,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we always agree. We sometimes disagree.”
Saudi Arabia is committed to transitioning toward a “clean energy future,” but the switch “could take decades,” he said.
Prince Faisal added that ensuring reliability in traditional forms of energy for the developing world, which is still catching up in adoption of clean energy solutions, is also essential, with Riyadh investing $200 billion locally and abroad in renewable energy projects in 21 other countries.
“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 said.
Prince Faisal also highlighted the success of Vision 2030 in transitioning the economy of the Kingdom away from a dependance on oil as a source of revenue for the government and as a proportion of its GDP.
He continued: “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.”
He said that the global energy crisis has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, a conflict that has ramifications for the developing world “far beyond” Ukraine’s borders.
The world has to “find a pathway to end the conflict,” he said.
The Kingdom’s strong dialogue with the US is in stark contrast to its relations with Iran, but Prince Faisal told the WEF panel that Saudi Arabia had “reached out” to Tehran in an attempt to find a path to dialogue.
“Focusing on development rather than geopolitical affairs is a strong signal to Iran and others in the region that there are other paths to work together and achieve prosperity,” he said.
“Whenever there is cooperation in the region, we achieve prosperity for the peoples of the region,” he added.