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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the United States will get over their “unwarranted” spat over oil supplies, the kingdom’s investment minister told a business forum in Riyadh on Tuesday, highlighting long-standing corporate and institutional ties.

This month’s decision by the OPEC+ alliance led by Saudi Arabia to cut oil output targets unleashed a war of words between the White House and Riyadh ahead of the kingdom’s FII investment forum, which again drew top U.S. business executives.

The row raised tensions between the two traditional allies whose relationship had already been strained by the Biden administration’s stance on the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Yemen war, as well as Riyadh’s growing ties with China and Russia.

“If you look at the relationship with the people side, the corporate side, the education system, you look at our institutions working together we are very close and we will get over this recent spat that I think was unwarranted,” Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih said.

While noting that Saudi Arabia and the United States were “solid allies” in the long term, he highlighted the kingdom was “very strong” with Asian partners including China as the biggest importer of Saudi hydrocarbons.

Biden vows consequences for US-Saudi relations after OPEC decision

Like previous years, the Future Investment Initiative (FII) three-day forum that opened on Tuesday saw a big turnout from Wall Street, as well as other industries with strategic interests in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, speaking at the gathering, voiced confidence that Saudi Arabia and the United States would safeguard their 75-year-old alliance.

“I can’t imagine any allies agreeing on everything and not having problems – they’ll work it through,” Dimon said. “I’m comfortable that folks on both sides are working through and that these countries will remain allies going forward, and hopefully help the world develop and grow properly.”

The FII is a showcase for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 development plan to wean the economy off oil by creating new industries that also generate jobs for millions of Saudis, and to lure foreign capital and talent.

No Biden administration officials were visible at the forum on Tuesday. In front-row attendance was featured speaker Jared Kushner, a former senior aide to then-President Donald Trump who enjoyed good ties with Prince Mohammed.

The Saudi government invested $2 billion with a firm incorporated by Kushner after Trump left office.

FII organisers said this year’s edition attracted 7,000 delegates compared with 4,000 last year.

After its inaugural launch in 2017, the forum was marred by a Western boycott over Khashoggi’s killing by Saudi agents. It recovered the next year, attracting leaders and businesses with strategic interests in Saudi Arabia, but then the pandemic hit.

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