US Sen Dems To Threaten Arms Deals
Unless OPEC Boosts Output

April 24, 2008

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--U.S. Senate Democrats are taking a tough line with OPEC as oil prices surge to record highs, and plan on Thursday to threaten to hold up arms deals with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations unless the oil-producing countries agree to increase oil production.

Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., plan to call on President George W. Bush and his administration to "use its leverage" with OPEC nations or "risk Congress holding up multi-million dollar arms deals."

The strategy will be unveiled at a press conference on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Earlier this year, the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ignored Bush's request to increase production in order to bring down U.S. gasoline prices. Most recently, Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, over the weekend said it had no plans to increase production capacity beyond the amount it is already pursuing for several years until it gets clearer signs about future consumption.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi had said that the growth in alternative energy like biofuels was putting a cloud of uncertainty over future oil demand.

Original article: INO
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