RIYADH – Russia can play a optimistic function in easing tensions within the Gulf following a spate of assaults within the area, President Vladimir Putin mentioned in feedback printed on Sunday earlier than his first go to to Saudi Arabia in over a decade.
He cited good Russian ties with Gulf Arab states and Iran in an interview with Arab broadcasters, however mentioned he had no dependable details about who was behind assaults on Saudi oil amenities on Sept. 14 which stoked pressure and rattled oil markets.
Yemen’s Houthi motion mentioned it was behind the drone and missile strikes, however Riyadh and Washington blamed Tehran, which denied accountability.
The assault uncovered huge gaps in Saudi air defenses, prompting the USA to ship round three,000 extra troops to the dominion.
“It’s improper to find out who’s responsible earlier than it’s identified reliably and clearly who’s behind this act,” Putin mentioned, including that he had agreed to assist examine.
“Think about, we do not know. The following day, I requested the pinnacle of the overseas intelligence service and the protection minister. ‘No, we do not know’,” he mentioned in response to an Arabic-language transcript supplied by Saudi-owned Al Arabiya tv.
Putin is because of arrive in Saudi Arabia on Monday and can maintain talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier than leaving for the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. Russia and Saudi Arabia are two of the world’s largest oil producers.
Tensions within the Gulf have risen to new highs since Could 2018, when the USA withdrew from a 2015 worldwide nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in change for the easing of sanctions.
President Donald Trump has reinstated U.S. sanctions, growing strain on Iran’s economic system, and there have been assaults on Saudi Arabia and in Gulf waters that Washington and shut allies have blamed on Iran. Tehran denies accountability.
Putin mentioned such assaults strengthened cooperation between oil producers inside and out of doors OPEC, an alliance often called OPEC+, and that Russia – which isn’t in OPEC – would work with its companions to cut back makes an attempt to destabilize markets.
Saudi Minister of State for Overseas Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, in a media briefing, mentioned Riyadh was not behind a suspected strike in opposition to an Iranian-owned oil tanker within the Crimson Sea on Friday.
IRAN DEAL, SYRIA
Pakistan’s prime minister is visiting Tehran and Riyadh this week to attempt to facilitate talks.
Putin mentioned the area’s rival leaders didn’t want recommendation and mediation.
“You possibly can solely speak to them out of friendship,” he mentioned. “I do know that they, being good, will hear and analyze what they’re instructed. On this context we will play a optimistic function.”
He mentioned he had “very pleasant private relations” with Prince Mohammed, the de facto Saudi ruler.
Requested whether or not Moscow supported a return to negotiations with Iran to restrict its missile program as Trump has referred to as for or implementing the nuclear deal first, Putin mentioned the 2 points ought to be handled individually.
“More than likely it (the missiles) can and ought to be mentioned … The missile program is one factor and the nuclear program is one other factor,” he mentioned. “After all, that is vital, however there isn’t any have to merge one with the opposite…”
On Syria, the place Russia and Iran have been key allies of President Bashar al-Assad in the course of the nation’s civil conflict, Putin mentioned any new structure that’s drawn up ought to assure the rights of all ethnic and religions teams.
A congress convened by Russia final 12 months tasked the United Nations envoy for Syria with forming a committee to draft a brand new structure, after many rounds of talks to finish the conflict failed.
U.N. officers say forming a constitutional committee is essential to political reforms and new elections meant to unify Syria and finish the civil conflict.
Putin mentioned Syrians “work together positively” with Russian army police and army stationed within the nation.
Protection Secretary Mark Esper mentioned Washington was poised to evacuate about 1,000 troops from northern Syria after Turkey started an offensive in opposition to Kurdish forces within the border space. He instructed CBS the Kurds have been trying to lower a cope with the Syrians and Russians to counterattack in opposition to the Kurds.
Turkey says it goals to arrange a “secure zone” to resettle Syrian refugees however the offensive has raised worldwide alarm over the potential of Islamic State militants escaping from Kurdish-run prisons.
Putin mentioned Moscow didn’t blame Trump for not bettering U.S.-Russian relations, blaming the shortage of progress on the “inside political agenda.”
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