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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday some countries were using their emergency stocks to manipulate markets when their purpose should be to mitigate any shortages of supply.

The comment appeared to be a criticism of U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to sell oil from the nation’s emergency oil reserve as he tries to lower gasoline prices ahead of mid-term elections on Nov. 8.

“It is my profound duty to make clear to the world that losing (releasing) emergency stocks may be painful in the months to come,” the Saudi minister told the Future Initiative Investment (FII) conference in Riyadh.

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He also said Saudi Arabia remained the world’s most reliable oil supplier and had increased its sales to Europe to 950,000 barrels in September from 490,000 barrels the same time a year ago.

Relations with the United States deteriorated earlier this month when the OPEC+ group of oil producers, of which Saudi is the de facto leader, decided to cut output, prompting the Biden administration to warn there would be “consequences” for U.S. ties with Riyadh.

Riyadh and Washington will overcome spat, Saudi minister says

The prince said Saudi Arabia had chosen to be “the maturer” party when asked about how to get the energy relationship with the U.S. back on track.

“I keep hearing are you with us or against us? Is there any room for we are for Saudi Arabia and the people of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

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