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Saudi Arabia Implied It Would Sell Euro Bonds if G7 Seized Frozen Russian Assets – Reports

President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh in December 2023. kremlin.ru

Saudi Arabia privately warned it could sell off European debt holdings if the G7 seized nearly $300 billion in frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter.

In what one source described as a “veiled threat,” the kingdom’s finance ministry reportedly implied it would start selling debt issued by the French Treasury if the G7 seized Russian assets that were frozen in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The Saudi finance ministry denied this account in a statement sent to Bloomberg, saying “no such threats were made.” 

A Saudi official told Bloomberg that although it was not Riyadh’s “style” to make threats like this, it may have outlined to G7 members the consequences of any seizures.

Riyadh’s reported private intervention came ahead of the group of leading economies’ May and June deliberations over what to do with roughly $260 billion of blocked Russian money.

The U.S. and Britain reportedly favored confiscating the funds and allocating them toward Ukraine’s reconstruction, while the EU was more reluctant.

Other Russia-friendly countries including China and Indonesia had also pushed for the EU to refrain from seizing the money, fearing the precedent it would set.

Although Saudi Arabia holds large foreign reserves, including perhaps tens of billions of euros, the G7’s major fear was that other countries would follow the kingdom’s lead in selling European bonds, Bloomberg added.

Instead of confiscating the money, the EU adopted a plan to use the profits from the frozen Russian assets to fund $50 billion of military aid for Ukraine in June. 

While enjoying close relations with Moscow, Riyadh has also sought to build ties with Kyiv, welcoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a surprise visit in June. The kingdom also hosted a Ukraine peace summit in August 2023 which Russia was not invited.

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