Saudi Arabia backs political solution to end Ukraine crisis as Lavrov arrives for talks

Russian foreign minister's meeting with counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan comes after discussions with Bahrain's King Hamad in Manama

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke about Riyadh’s willingness to make the necessary efforts to contribute to a political solution in Ukraine, as he welcomed his Russian counterpart to the kingdom on Tuesday.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that Prince Faisal affirmed to Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “the kingdom's position based on the foundations of international law and its support for efforts aimed at reaching a political solution that ends the crisis and achieves security and stability”.

Mr Lavrov arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and was met at King Khalid International Airport near the capital Riyadh by Walid Al Khuraiji, the kingdom's Deputy Foreign Minister, before he met Prince Faisal.

Mr Lavrov also met Hussein Ibrahim Taha, Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, during his visit to the kingdom.

The two men discussed regional and global challenges, including the importance of co-ordination to serve international efforts to bring peace, stability and development around the world.

The two sides spoke of the importance of strengthening ties between the Russian Federation and the Islamic world. Russia holds observer status in the OIC.

The Russian foreign minister arrived in Saudi Arabia after meeting Bahrain's King Hamad in Manama on Monday.

During a press conference with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani on Tuesday, Mr Lavrov called on Ukraine to de-mine its territorial waters to allow the safe passage of ships through the Black and Azov seas and solve a global food crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Western countries “created a lot of artificial problems by closing their ports to Russian ships, disrupting logistics and financial chains”, Mr Lavrov told reporters.

Mr Lavrov will also visit Turkey next week to discuss creating a potential sea corridor for Ukrainian agricultural exports, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

In a phone call with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was ready to enable the unhindered export of grain from Ukrainian ports in co-ordination with Turkey.

Mr Cavusoglu said work was still under way with the UN to reach an agreement on creating the corridor in the Black Sea, but that issues between Moscow and Kyiv remained.

He added that the UN had proposed forming a joint observation mechanism to monitor the shipping route and that Turkey was open to the idea.

The Turkish foreign minister said Russia wanted some western sanctions on its insurance sector lifted and that this would affect the ships that would participate in the potential shipping network, though Ukraine has expressed opposition to allowing Russian warships to approach its docks in Odesa.

Updated: June 01, 2022, 3:57 PM
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