Russia rebuffs Saudi Prince Bandar’s offer

Russia rebuffs Saudi Prince Bandar’s offer
Fri Aug 9, 2013 17:22:43

Moscow has rejected Saudi Kingdom’s lucrative arms deal incentive in return for Kremlin to back away from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Arab and European diplomats said Moscow has said “no” to Saudi Arabia’s alleged proposal of a rich arms deal and protection of Russia’s gas interests in the Middle East in exchange for abandoning Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The proposal of $15 billion in weapons contracts was allegedly made during the July 31 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

Neither of the two sides has unveiled details of the talks.   

According to an undisclosed European diplomat, Prince Bandar proposed the deal and told Putin that "whatever regime comes after" Assad will be "completely" in Riyadh’s hands.

The Prince reportedly stated that if the deal was accepted, Saudi Arabia would not sign any contracts damaging Russian interests by allowing Persian Gulf countries to transport its gas across Syria to Europe.

The terms included Moscow dropping its support of President Bashar Assad, as well as not opposing any future Security Council resolutions on Syria.

"President Putin listened politely to his interlocutor and let him know that his country would not change its strategy," a separate Arab diplomat said.

Bandar bin Sultan then told Russian officials that the only option left in Syria is a military one – and that they should forget about the Geneva-2 international peace conference because the opposition would not attend, the source said.

Efforts to bring about the conference – which has been put forth by the US and Moscow – have so far been fruitless, mainly because of the absence of unity within the opposition ranks.

MRKD/NJF

 

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