Putin to meet Saudi prince amid Syria tensions

Putin to meet Saudi prince amid Syria tensions

MOSCOW – Agence France-Presse
Putin to meet Saudi prince amid Syria tensions


Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Saudi Arabia’s defence minister this week in a meeting aimed at boosting bilateral ties after years of tensions over Syria, his aide said June 17.

Putin will meet Prince Mohammed bin Salman, believed to be a favored son of King Salman, on June 18 on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, the Kremlin’s top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed, aged 29 according to the website of the Saudi embassy in the US, was elevated to the post of defense minister the day Salman acceded to the throne in January.

Ushakov said Putin and the Saudi prince would discuss a range of international issues including the Syria crisis and the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant radicals as well as ramping up economic ties.

“Undoubtedly the [meeting] is very important and speaks of the interest of both sides - Russian and Saudi - in ramping up ties to a wholly new level,” Ushakov said.

He said he was not aware if Russia and Saudi Arabia - a traditional ally of the United States - would discuss oil prices.

The two countries are set to ink a number of agreements on the forum’s sidelines, the Kremlin said.     
The Saudi prince will be one of the few guests of honor at the Saint Petersburg forum amid Russia’s confrontation with the West, which has slapped sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.