Abdullah, Lavrov Hold Talks on Key Regional Issues

RIYADH- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah held talks yesterday with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a range of bilateral, regional, and international issues.

The talks, attended by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, focused on regional issues such as the Iranian nuclear standoff, the situation in Iraq and the Middle East peace process.

Mikhail Kamynin, a spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that the talks covered a whole spectrum of issues. He said Saudi Arabia and Russia would like to “maintain a stable political dialogue based on a proximity of approaches on a range of international and regional problems”.

During his audience with King Abdullah, the Russian minister delivered a message from the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Lavrov also met with Crown Prince Sultan and discussed among other regional issues the situation in the Palestinian territories and Iraq. They also reviewed aspects of cooperation between Riyadh and Moscow.

“Cooperation in the trade and economic spheres as well as partnership in energy security has grown noticeably in recent times, ” said both the Saudi and Russian officials while referring to the growing relations between the two countries.

Lavrov continued talks with Prince Saud and representatives of the Kingdom’s National Security Council late into the night. During the late night meeting, the two sides held discussions on how to address urgent issues affecting the peace and security of the Middle East region and prospects for the development of bilateral relations. Lavrov, who arrived here yesterday as part of a three-nation Gulf tour, announced his agenda of talks earlier. Iran’s nuclear dossier, in particular Russia’s efforts to avoid the use of force, and issues related to the growing Russian cooperation with the GCC were discussed in detail, said Kamynin.

“Particular attention will be paid to the situation in Iraq and to the search for solutions aimed at normalizing relations in the country and fine-tuning inter-Iraqi dialogue on achieving a national consensus, Kamynin said.

Later addressing a press conference with Lavrov, Prince Saud hoped the new Iraqi government would be able to stop the cycle of violence in the country.

“No doubt that the circle of violence that has engulfed Iraq and taken the lives of so many innocent people is a source of concern to us all, so we hope that the new Iraqi government will be able to stop this and guarantee security, stability and national unity,” Saud said.

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