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Russia has reportedly rebuffed an offer by Saudi Arabia to abandon its support for the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad in exchange for a package of incentives.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan with Putin


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On Thursday, AFP quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Moscow had rejected an offer by Saudi Arabia to change its stance on Syria in return for a huge arms deal and a promise to increase Moscow’s influence in the Arab countries.

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on July 31, Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan offered a package of economic incentives to Russia.

Bandar offered to buy up to USD 15 billion of Russian weapons besides ensuring that Persian Gulf gas would not challenge Russia’s gas sales to Europe, according to Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia.

In return, Riyadh wants Moscow to lessen its support for the Syrian government and no longer block any United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Syria.

A former Saudi ambassador to US, Bandar is currently director general of Saudi Intelligence Agency. He is known to have had close ties with former US President George Bush, and was an advocate of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Some observers believe that Saudi Arabia’s ally, the US, has indeed tasked Bandar bin Sultan with causing unrest in many regional countries including Syria.

On Tuesday, Saudi King Abdullah appointed Bandar bin Sultan’s brother, Prince Salman bin Sultan, as Deputy Defense Minister. Bandar has already worked closely alongside his brother in favor of foreign-backed militants in Syria to topple Syria’s Assad.

Saudi Arabia along with other US allies in the region has been a key supporter of the militants fighting the Assad government in Syria.

Riyadh has also called for foreign military intervention to topple President Assad’s government.

Meanwhile, some reports suggest that Saudi Arabia is planning to get involved in Yemen militarily for the second time over the past four years.

Back in 2009, Saudi entered a direct war with Houthi fighters in northern Yemen.

Saudi Arabia also sent troops to neighboring Bahrain in 2011 to crush a popular uprising there.

It also threw its full weight behind the Egyptian army’s ouster of first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.

Saudi Arabia is itself grappling with anti-monarch protests. Dozens of anti-government protesters have been killed in the regime crackdown in the restive Eastern Province.



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Vitaly Naumkin-Director Institute Oriental Studies Moscow

Naumkin, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies: Reports of Saudi arms purchases from Moscow ‘misleading’

Moscow, (SANA-M. Ismael)Vitaly Naumkin, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow, described Western media reports on a Saudi proposal to purchase arms worth USD 15 billion from Moscow, allegedly as an inducement to Moscow to alter its stance on Syria, as a ”kind of media disinformation that aims to tarnish Russia’s firm stance.”

”It’s clear that this nonsense is aimed to either sway Syria’s stance or, more probably, to tarnish Russia’s reputation and raise doubts about the fact that Russia adopts a serious and rational stance on Syria, and to give the impression that Russia might change its policies in return for Saudi promises.”

Naumkin indicated that the emergence of this kind of reports ”indicates a certain pattern ” as previous attempts to that effect have surfaced, citing earlier misleading reports on likely large-scale Saudi arms purchases from Moscow provided that Moscow changes its position on Syria.

Western media reports have quoted sources as saying that Saudi Arabia has proposed to make a hug arms deal with Moscow as an inducement to Moscow to alter or water down its stance regarding the situation in Syria.


This page at https://syrianfreepress.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/russia-rebuffs-saudi-offer-to-drop-syria-support-for-arms-deal-report/

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