Syria ‘Offering Excellent Opportunity’ to Boost Russia-Saudi Relations
The relationship between Russia and Saudi Arabia has been complicated at times, but Saudi journalist and former general manager of the al-Arab News Channel Jamal Khashoggi asserted that efforts aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis could serve as a basis for fostering close relations between Moscow and Riyadh.
“It is a perfect time now and there is an opportunity for Saudi Arabia and Russia to work together on bringing peace to Syria. But they need to find common ground specifically with regard to peace in Syria as opposed to reaching a consensus on keeping President Bashar al-Assad in power,” he said during an expert debate held at the Valdai Discussion Club.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have provided assistance to opposing sides of the ongoing Syrian conflict, with Moscow launching a limited aerial operation to help Damascus tackle foreign-sponsored terrorist groups fighting to overthrow President Assad and establish a state based on Sharia. For its part, Riyadh has been one of the key supporters of radical militias and organizations active in Syria.
As a result, both countries have not seen eye to eye when it comes to the fate of President Assad, with Saudis calling for his immediate resignation. Moscow has always maintained that it is up to the Syrian people to choose their leaders.
Despite these differences, Khashoggi, who serves as media advisor to the Saudi ambassador Prince Turki Al Faisal, maintained that Syria could bring Russia and Saudi Arabia closer together.
“I think that Syria offers an excellent opportunity to build close relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia,” he said, pointing to oil, energy and investment as the key areas where Moscow and Riyadh could increasingly cooperate.
Earlier this year, both countries worked out a roadmap on join investment projects in energy, the agricultural sector and manufacturing industry. Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi toldSputnik in January that both sides are also focusing on exploring investment opportunities in culture and science.
In 2015, the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) reached an agreement. Riyadh pledged to invest $10 billion in projects carried out in Russia, making it the largest foreign investment in the country.
TAP – With Turkey slipping away from NATO’s grip, is Saudi Arabia the next one to see more future in a world where Russia plays a leading role, and the United States and NATO are less dominant? Egypt is another country feeling the gravitational pull of Russian military, diplomatic and financial strength.
Russia’s Upper House chair discusses nuclear plans & air travel resumption on Egypt trip
Discussions on joint industrial and infrastructural projects were among the highlights of Russian parliament’s upper house speaker Valentina Matvienko’s visit to Egypt, which concluded on Saturday. Russia is looking forward to the construction of the Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant, which is a “strategic and the biggest joint project” of the two countries since erecting the Aswan dam in the ‘60s. Moscow hopes that the establishment of a Russian industrial zone in Egypt won’t be derailed by “bureaucratic red tape.” Russia is also looking to introduce the Mir electronic funds transfer system to the country, and other destinations popular among Russian tourists, Matvienko told reporters. Egypt has said its airports are “90 percent ready,” paving the way for the resumption of regular flights between the two countries, according to Matvienko.
TAP – With western banks becoming more suspect as the thirty year debt bubble reaches ever higher, who can blame any country or person for seeking alternatives? If Russian banks are welcomed by Duterte in the Philippines, I would certainly check one out myself, as an alternative to HSBC, which imposes more rules and restrictions every year. Countries with minimal or no debt will be essential partners when the inevitable US and EU debt collapse impacts. Boris Johnson’s getting in the stability queue too.