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Facing another year of austerity, Saudi Arabia hopes Trump will make a deal

FILE- In this Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 file photo, a man rides a camel through the desert oil field and winter camping area of Sakhir, Bahrain. OPEC nations have agreed in theory that they need to reduce their production to help boost global oil prices during a meeting in Algeria, but a major disagreement between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran still may derail any cut. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

Saudi Arabian leaders, facing another year of dwindling oil prices and lost revenue, have gone from skeptical to cautiously optimistic about a Donald Trump presidency, according to reports.

Trump has been forceful in his assertion that he would shore up domestic energy production, even going so far as to suggest the U.S. would block oil imports from Saudi Arabia. This, coupled with some of his comments about Muslims, have led to jitters within the halls of business and government in the U.S.'s middle eastern ally. According to Forbes:

During his campaign Trump vowed to secure U.S. energy independence from “our foes and the oil cartels,” while also creating “complete American energy independence.”

Trump's strong rhetoric has led the Saudia Arabian Oil Minister to express concern and yet renewed desire to see the famous dealmaker live up to the title of his autobiography.

...Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister fired back. Khalid Al-Falih, also the chairman of Aramco, said in an interview that “at his heart President-elect Trump will see the benefits [of Saudi oil imports] and I think the oil industry will also be advising him accordingly that blocking trade in any product is not healthy.”

By Friday, however, fears seem to have calmed as Saudi leaders asserted the incoming administration had the interests of Saudi Arabia -- who felt crippled by the inaction of the Obama administration in the Middle East and its seeming preference for Iran -- in mind.

...Top officials have expressed confidence that Trump will push for a return to traditional cooperation, after nearly eight years of President Barack Obama, who has been widely seen as withdrawing from the region and some of its longstanding alliances.
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