British lawmakers are calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to cancel a planned trip to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Opposition politicians and even some members of Johnson’s Conservative Party cited the recent mass execution of 81 men by Saudi Arabia as the latest example of the kingdom’s abysmal human rights record. Johnson has called on Saudi officials to pump more oil to bring down rising energy costs, as Western countries look for alternatives to Russian oil. Last week the White House came under fire after a report claimed President Biden was planning a visit to Saudi Arabia to “help repair relations.”
The Biden administration has reportedly retreated from a plan to discuss the lifting of sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry. Several U.S. senators, including Florida Republican Marco Rubio and New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, objected after reports emerged that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro met with American officials in Caracas earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Koch Industries signaled this week it has no plans to join nearly 400 other multinational corporations that have suspended their Russian operations. The conglomerate, which is run by the billionaire Republican Party donor Charles Koch, owns at least three companies still doing business in Russia.