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Saudi Arabia issued vague threats to G7 against seizing frozen Russian assets, Bloomberg reports

by Dmytro Basmat July 10, 2024 1:09 AM 2 min read
Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, arrives at the G20 summit on Nov. 25, 2022. (Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Saudi officials reportedly made "veiled threats" to Group of Seven (G7) nations hinting that the kingdom would sell some European debt holdings if Western allies seized about $300 billion in frozen Russian assets, Bloomberg reported on July 9, citing its sources.

According to sources familiar with the matter, officials from Saudi Arabia's finance ministry pushed their opposition to Western allies seizing frozen Russian assets, implying that the sale of European debt holdings would commence. Debt issued by France's treasury was specifically named, Bloomberg reported.

The vague threats came ahead of G7 deliberations in May and June, as allies in Europe disagreed on what measures to take with frozen assets held in their countries - with some European nations worried that collecting the profits could destabilize and weaken the euro.

Last month, G7 leaders eventually came to an agreement on a plan to provide Ukraine with a $50 billion loan by the end of the year, backed by the incurred interest from the $300 billion in frozen Russian assets.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia's finance ministry denied putting pressure on G7 countries, adding that "no such threats were made."

"Our relation with the G7 and others is of mutual respect and we continue to discuss all issues that promote global growth and enhance the resilience of the international financial system," the statement read.

Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that it was unclear whether Riyadh allegedly acted in solidarity with Moscow, or whether it feared that seizing assets would set precedent for more countries to do so in the future.

Sources tell Bloomberg that although Saudi Arabia's selling of European and French bonds would not likely cause massive rifts in the world economy, European officials were concerned other countries would follow Saudi Arabia's lead.

Saudi Arabia has not taken a concrete stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine having skipped last month's global peace summit in Switzerland, and refusing to sign the peace summit's joint communique condemning Russia.

Saudi Arabia previously hosted an international summit on Ukraine's peace formula in August 2023. The country has also played an important role in negotiating prisoner exchanges with Russia, allowing Ukraine to achieve a major exchange involving nearly 300 people in September 2022.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia has maintained close economic ties with Russia, which have strengthened following the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and Russia's subsequent economic isolation from the West.

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