The United States said Wednesday it has urged Saudi Arabia to "reassure" oil and financial markets as the world grapples with a coronavirus pandemic that has paralyzed major economies.
The appeal was made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephone conversation Tuesday with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the State Department said.
Oil prices have plunged as economies grind to a halt due to the pandemic. But the decline has also been fueled by a price war between the Saudis and Russia.
President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, has welcomed lower gasoline prices for US consumers but the United States is also worried about its shale oil producers.
"The Secretary stressed that as a leader of the G20 and an important energy leader, Saudi Arabia has a real opportunity to rise to the occasion and reassure global energy and financial markets when the world faces serious economic uncertainty," the department said in a statement.
"We agreed all countries need to work together to contain the pandemic and stabilize energy markets," Pompeo himself tweeted Wednesday.
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia is hosting a virtual summit of G20 leaders on the health crisis sweeping the world because of the coronavirus.