Saudi Arabia tries to tempt Russia over Syria

Saudi Arabia tries to tempt Russia over Syria
Wed Aug 7, 2013 22:28:49

Saudi Arabia has attempted to entice Russia through a package of economic incentives if Moscow agrees to scale back its support for the Syrian government.

The proposed deal was set out by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week, Reuters reported.

Syrian opposition sources close to Saudi Arabia said Prince Bandar offered to buy up to $15 billion of Russian weapons as well as ensuring that Persian Gulf gas would not challenge Russia's gas sales to Europe.

In return, Saudi Arabia wants Moscow to lessen its strong support for the Syrian government and to agree not to block any future United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution on Syria.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, could not immediately be reached on Wednesday for comments about the meeting and the proposed deal.

Russia remains a strong supporter of the Syrian government and has blocked several UNSC resolutions against it. But Saudi Arabia and several other regional countries support militants operating in the country and have repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- support the militants operating inside Syria.

According to UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.


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