RIYADH (Reuters) -Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, believes oil should not be used as a weapon because it is the economic lifeline of Arab states, its foreign minister said.
Asked whether the oil weapon should be used if the conflict between Israel and Lebanon escalates, Prince Saud al-Faisal said: “The two issues should not be mixed because oil is among the economic capabilities that countries… need to meet their obligations toward their citizens.
“If we ignore this reality and start asking that the foundations of our life (be used) and enter into reckless adventures, the first to be hurt will be our citizens and no wise government can accept this,” he told a news conference.
His comments were carried on the official Saudi Press Agency late on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia and other U.S.-allied Gulf members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have made clear in the past they do not intend to repeat the 1973 Arab oil embargo, sanctioned by Saudi Arabia’s then King Faisal to punish the West for backing Israel in the Arab-Israeli war.
Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in OPEC.
Global oil prices hit a record-high of $78.40 a barrel last month on fears that the Israeli-Lebanese conflict could spread to Middle East oil producers.
Saudi Arabia, a key regional U.S. ally, has criticized Washington for not pressing for an immediate ceasefire and has warned that Israeli militarism could trigger a wider conflict in the region.