Saudi Arabia hands Medvedev 'message from king'

25th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Friday handed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev a message from King Abdullah in a surprise closed-door meeting in the Kremlin.

Prince Saud al-Faisal gave Medvedev the "personal message" at a meeting also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Medvedev's foreign policy advisor Sergei Prikhodko, the Kremlin said.

No further details over the contents of the message were disclosed in the Kremlin statement. Prince Saud's visit had also not been announced in advance by the Russian side.

The Russian statement said the two sides discussed the controversial March 14 entry of forces from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates into Bahrain and the general situation in North Africa and the Middle East.

Speaking of the Gulf troops, Prince Saud "explained that this action was taken at the request of the legitimate Bahrain leadership," the Kremlin statement said.

Russia for its part "expressed the hope that efforts undertaken (by the Saudi and UAE) forces will help stabilise the situation," the statement added.

The Saudi prince also "confirmed the principled intent" of Saudi King Abdullah to develop ties "in all fields" between the two sides.

Russia, a major supplier of arms to the Arab world, has been concerned about what impact the revolts in the Middle East will have on its weapons industry.

Officials warned that the UN sanctions against Libya will cost the Russian weapons industry $4.0 billion, but Medvedev also ensured Russia refrained from using its veto on the UN resolution allowing military action in Libya.

Prince Saud's visit also came in the same week as Medvedev received Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

© 2011 AFP

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