Biden top aide interrupts as Macron spills bad news about oil crisis

President Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday stepped in to interrupt French President Emmanuel Macron as he broke bad news to Biden — with journalists feet away — about attempts to get Arab nations to produce more oil to lower record gas prices.

“Careful. Maybe we should just step inside … because of the cameras,” Sullivan said, motioning to journalists covering the G-7 summit in Germany.

It’s unclear if Sullivan was concerned about any particular nugget of news leaking to journalists, but some of Macron’s words were clearly audible.

“I had a call with MBZ,” Macron told Biden, referring to the leader of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. “He told me two things. I’m at a maximum, maximum [production capacity]. This is what he claims … And then he said [the] Saudis can increase by 150 [thousands barrels per day]. Maybe a little bit more, but they don’t have huge capacities before six months’ time.”

That news means that Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia next month may fail to woo the oil-rich Arab states to help alleviate a spike in gas prices associated with Russia’s four-month-old invasion of Ukraine. High gas prices of about $5 per gallon are driving down public approval of Biden’s performance while contributing to the worst inflation since 1981.

Reuters reported that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been perceived as the only two countries in producer group the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the world which still have some spare capacity and could help increase global deliveries.”

Other topics at the G-7 conference concerned NATO efforts to arm Ukraine’s government to resist Russia’s invasion.

Sullivan suggested to Biden and Macron that they should continue their conversation away from journalists and cameras.
Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
Macron was telling Biden that United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan told him his country is at "maximum" oil production capacity.
Macron was telling Biden that United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan told him his country is at “maximum” oil production capacity.
Biden is set to visit Saudi Arabia next month following the G-7 Summit.
Biden is set to visit Saudi Arabia next month following the G-7 summit.
Photo by Christinan Bruna – Pool/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday spoke with leaders of the G-7 nations and Sullivan told reporters there are plans to deliver advanced weapons.

“We do intend to finalize a package that includes advanced medium- and long-range air defense capabilities for the Ukrainians, along with some other items that are of urgent need, including ammunition for artillery and counterbattery radar systems,” Sullivan said during a gaggle.

The G-7 is an association of economically powerful democracies and includes the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

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