Middle East

Russian envoy discusses Syria with Saudi crown prince -Saudi TV

Jan 20 (Reuters) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday discussed developments in war-torn Syria with Russia’s special envoy, Saudi state TV reported.

The Russian official, Alexander Lavrentiev, is visiting Riyadh to discuss bilateral ties as well, the channel said, without giving further details.

Russia and Iran are providing critical military and political support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the 11-year civil war, while Riyadh has backed some of his opponents.

Lavrentiev’s visit comes as Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi started a two-day trip to Moscow on Wednesday that included discussions about Syria.

The United Arab Emirates, a close regional ally of Saudi Arabia, has called for Syria to return to the Arab League and in November sent its foreign minister to Damascus where he met Assad.

Riyadh has been reluctant to follow suit, with analysts saying it might be wary of running against the United States which opposes the rehabilitation of what U.S. officials describe as Assad’s “brutal dictatorship.” read more

Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli and Lilian Wagdy; Editing by Alison Williams and Mark Porter

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