Russia’s Putin, Saudi King Salman discuss Syria, Qatar

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… from  Press TV, Tehran

The Crown Prince is not calling all the shots

[ Editor’s Note: It was interesting that Putin was dealing with the old king versus the 35-year-old crown prince. It shows that he is still in charge of dealing with the big wheels.

Missing in the phone conversation review was any mention of Russia and China teaming up to buy a chunk of the ARAMCO offering, possibly a $100-billion deal, where they have plainly stated they view it as relationship building.

With the reports of ARAMCO being in shambles, with declining production and an infrastructure that has been milked dry by avoiding long due overhauls while the Saudi economy has been in the red, Russia and China might be buying into a mirage.

Another reason suggested for the buy in is that both China and Russia want to keep communications open on maintaining stable oil prices for more control over their economic forecasting. With all the variables they have on the table, including an aggressive US wanting to rule the world, they want some things they can count on. But I am not so sure Saudi Arabia is good bet.

Russia will be turning on the gas faucet for its first big China deal later in the year, which will be a major boost to Russia’s cash flow, and a bankable one.

I suspect we will see the deal finalized on the western pipeline, one which will have a much longer construction time, but which is also a key part of the New Silk Road, which will need that gas. Getting water to that region is going to be the harder nut to crack, as every option so far is hugely expensiveJim W. Dean ]

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The Saudis have always viewed themselves as good bargainers

– First published … February 14, 2018

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Russian President Vladimir Putin discuss the developments in the Middle East, including the situation in Syria and tensions with Qatar.

According to the Kremlin’s press service, Putin and Salman exchanged views over Syria via a phone conversation on Wednesday, “taking into account the results of the Syrian National Congress in Sochi.”

Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been organizing peace talks for Syria in the Kazakh capital of Astana since January 2017. Together, the three countries have been acting as guarantor states for the peace process in the war-torn Arab country.

Capitalizing on the achievements of Astana, Russia in late January convened a high-profile meeting on Syria — the Syrian Congress of National Dialog — in Sochi.

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Putin and Salman also discussed the ongoing tensions between Qatar and other regional countries.

“The Russian side stressed that the existing crisis is not conducive to joint efforts in battling the terrorism threat and bringing stability to the Middle East,” noted the Kremlin.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt all cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5 last year, after officially accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism.”

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry later announced that the decisions to cut diplomatic ties were unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.

On June 9, Qatar strongly dismissed allegations of supporting terrorism after the Saudi regime and its allies blacklisted dozens of individuals and entities purportedly associated with Doha.

On June 23, Saudi Arabia and its allies released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of Al Jazeera television network and downgrade of relations with Iran, in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations with Doha.

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