U.S. urges Saudi Arabia to 'reassure' oil and financial markets

WASHINGTON, USA – The United States said Wednesday, March 25, it has urged Saudi Arabia to "reassure" oil and financial markets as the world grapples with a coronavirus pandemic that has paralyzed major economies.

The appeal was made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephone conversation on Tuesday, March 24, with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the State Department said.

Oil prices have plunged as economies grind to a halt due to the pandemic. But the decline has also been fueled by a price war between the Saudis and Russia.

President Donald Trump, who is seeking reelection in November, has welcomed lower gasoline prices for US consumers but the United States is also worried about its shale oil producers. 

"The Secretary stressed that as a leader of the G20 and an important energy leader, Saudi Arabia has a real opportunity to rise to the occasion and reassure global energy and financial markets when the world faces serious economic uncertainty," the department said in a statement.

"We agreed all countries need to work together to contain the pandemic and stabilize energy markets," Pompeo himself tweeted on Wednesday.

On Thursday, March 26, Saudi Arabia is hosting a virtual summit of G20 leaders on the health crisis sweeping the world because of the coronavirus. – Rappler.com