Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the country’s Prime Minister sat down with US cable news network Fox News for a wide-ranging interview.
The interview touched upon geopolitically charged issues such as its relations with Israel, the kingdom’s unilateral decision to cut crude oil supply, the LIV-PGA Tour merger shaking up the sport of golf and more.
Here are five key takeaways from Mohammed bin Salman’s interview:
Relations with the US: Mohammed bin Salman was optimistic about his relationship with the US President Joe Biden despite periodic reports to the contrary. In his answer he did differentiate between his government’s relationship with the Biden Administration versus his personal rapport with the leader.
“We have a lot of security and military ties that are strengthening the position of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, and strengthening the position of America globally,” hetold Fox News in an interview that was recorded at NEOM.
“The agenda between Saudi Arabia and America, today, is really interesting and we have a really amazing relationship with President Biden,” the crown prince said. “He is sharp, he is really well focused and well prepared, and that is what I see,” he added.
Saudi – Israel relations: Mohammed bin Salman confirmed of ongoing talks with Israel. He said “every day we get closer” toward the kingdom normalising relations with Israel. However, he stressed the issue of Palestine as a factor in normalising ties. “For us, the Palestinian issue is very important. We need to solve that part.”
He continued: “We got to see where we go. We hope that will reach a place, that it will ease the life of the Palestinians, gets Israel as a player in the Middle East.”
Oil supply: Saudi Arabia has unilaterally cut down the production of crude oil since April of this year. The consequent rally in oil prices has been a contributing factor in the persistent inflation seen across economies such as the US, UK and Germany. While the US has been in talks with Riyadh to alleviate the pressure on oil prices, the kingdom has continued with its restricted production scheduled.
The Crown Prince said the decision by OPEC+ countries to restrict oil production was based on market stability. “We just watch supply, demand. If there is shortage of supply our role in OPEC+ is to fill that shortage,” he said. “If there is oversupply, our role of OPEC+ is to measure that for the stability of the market.”
Tourism: As Saudi Arabia’s surges ahead with a massive construction boom in line with its Vision 2030 reform agenda, it is hoping to build itself into a global tourism destination. The Saudi leader said investments into the sector had increased its contribution to the kingdom’s GDP from 3 per cent to 7 per cent.
Liv Golf – PGA Tour: When asked about the merger between the Saudi Public Investment Fund-backed LIV Golf League and the PGA Tour, the prince added: “That’s a game changer for the golf industry, you will have a focus in developing the game and that’s good for the players and the fans who love golf.”