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By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON, May 28 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would discuss oil costs when he meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah next week and plans to say that big price rises are not in Riyadh’s interests.
“I don’t think it’s in Saudi Arabia’s interests to have a situation in which our economy is dependent -- or disrupted constantly -- by huge spike in energy prices,” Obama said when asked by a reporter what his message would be during his June 3 visit to Saudi Arabia.
Obama spoke to reporters after a meeting with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Obama, who also met with Abdullah in April on the sidelines of the London G20 meeting, said the United States and Saudi Arabia had both a “commercial relationship as well as a strategic relationship.”
Obama said he also wanted to make the point that it is not in the world’s interests for the United States to be so dependent on fossil fuels because of their impact on global climate change.
“I’ll be very honest with King Abdullah, with whom I’ve developed a good relationship, indicating to him that we’re not going to be eliminating our need for oil imports in the immediate future,” he said.
“That’s not our goal,” Obama added, but he said his administration was committed to diversifying its energy sources.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Wednesday he believed the global economy had strengthened enough to cope with oil at $75-$80 a barrel. He attributed the recent rises in oil prices to economic optimism.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, asked for reaction to Naimi’s comment, said Obama was “concerned about anything that raises the cost of living in a fragile economic time.” (Reporting by Caren Bohan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)