S. Korea Says Saudi Arabia Can Help Steady Oil Prices
Friday, 10 February 2012 | 11:00
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who is on a mission in the oil-rich Gulf States seeking alternative sources for Iranian oil, said that Saudi Arabia could play a major role in stabilizing the global economy through steady oil prices.
An official statement in Seoul had said earlier that Saudi Arabia had pledged to "actively consider" supplying additional crude to South Korea in the event of Seoul suspending Iranian crude import following U.S. and European Union-backed embargo on Iran's oil industry.
"Solving the changing policies in the Middle East by peaceful means and as soon as possible will help stabilize global oil prices and limit its impact on the global economy," Lee was quoted by the Arab media as saying in Riyadh.
"I believe Saudi can play a major role in stabilizing the global economy," Lee said in the Saudi capital after meeting Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi.
Lee is visiting major oil-producing Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates this week to secure stable sources of energy for South Korea, the world's fifth-largest crude oil importer. Some 87 percent of its crude imports last year were from the Middle East, with nine percent coming from Iran.
The United States has been putting pressure on Asian countries to cut Iranian crude import as part of efforts to force the Islamic Republic to abandon its disputed nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at developing nuclear weapons despite Tehran's claim of peaceful purpose.
According to reports, South Korea owes Iran's central bank some $5 billion for crude oil imports, but the debt could not be settled because of the U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran's financial institutions.
Source: RTT News
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