Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold talks on Thursday with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, who is paying a working visit to the Russian capital.
As the Russian diplomatic office noted on Wednesday, this will be their first face-to-face meeting since the Saudi minister's appointment in October 2019. In doing so, Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud will be Lavrov's first guest in Moscow this year.
The sides are expected to discuss not only the bilateral agenda, which includes cooperation in the energy and financial spheres but also a number of topical issues on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. In particular, the ministers will pay special attention to regional security issues and conflict resolution.
Regional security issues
The Foreign Ministry announced that the sides intend to focus primarily on the problems of the political and diplomatic settlement of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and "consolidation of efforts of all nations located there in order to achieve long-term stability in this strategically important part of the world." Both Moscow and Riyadh advocate the obligatory observance of the principles of respect for sovereignty, non-interference in each other's internal affairs and indivisibility of security for these purposes. Lavrov and Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud intend to review the situation in Syria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, as well as prospects for an Arab-Israeli settlement in this very manner.
It is noteworthy that the visit of the Saudi diplomat to Russia will take place a few days after the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, held in the kingdom. The result of the event was the signing of an agreement on the final reconciliation of the "four" Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Egypt) with Qatar.
Russia welcomed the achievement of these agreements and expressed hope that they would be beneficial for the security, stability and development of the region. It is likely that new opportunities, which are opening up in this regard thanks to overcoming controversies in the Persian Gulf zone, will also be discussed at the ministerial meeting in Moscow. The Foreign Ministry expects that the visit of the Saudi Foreign Minister will "help create the necessary conditions for the stable and long-term normalization of the situation in the region and the world as a whole".
Example of mutually beneficial cooperation
The Russian Foreign Ministry said ahead of the talks that the countries have managed not only to maintain but also to build strong economic ties even in difficult conditions that are associated with the coronavirus pandemic. For example, trade turnover between the countries increased in January-October 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 by 6 percent to nearly $1.4 billion. Moscow is interested in further increasing the volume of bilateral trade.
The ministry also pointed to the important role of the countries' close cooperation in the global oil market and in finance. The foreign ministers on Thursday intend to reaffirm their intention to expand the partnership between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which has already implemented projects worth over $2.5 billion within the joint platform. "The RDIF and the relevant Saudi agencies also continue working on the organization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of the third phase of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V and localization of its production," the Foreign Ministry stressed.
It is assumed that the ministers will also discuss the prospects for enhancing bilateral cooperation in the nuclear energy sector as well as the space industry. As explained in the Russian Foreign Ministry, they are talking about the training of Saudi astronauts and their sending in orbit. Parties plan to discuss the improvement of the legal framework of bilateral relations.
The Foreign Ministry also recalled the intensity of the political dialogue between Russia and Saudi Arabia at various levels, including at the highest level. The ministry noted that the agreements reached by the leaders of the two countries form the basis for the progressive development of interstate relations. Particular importance is attached to the implementation of decisions that were taken following Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Riyadh in October 2019.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Based on materials from TASS