Terrified by an America without Trump, Saudi Arabia asked Moscow, through its Foreign Minister, to repair Riyadh’s relations with Tehran and Ankara.
Faisal ben Farhan al-Saud, the Saudi Foreign Minister, who succeeded Adel al-Jubeir for a year, visited Russia, the main adversary of the United States, for the first time. Coinciding with Trump’s departure, the choice of Russia as Saudi Arabia’s first destination raised many questions.
Many analysts believe that Faisal ben Farhan al-Saud’s visit to Moscow on the eve of Trump’s departure from the White House reflects Riyadh’s concern about an America without Trump.
In other words, Riyadh fears the assumption of office by a Joe Biden who did not hesitate to attack Saudi Arabia during his campaign speech coinciding with the anniversary of the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in October 2018.
Biden said that if he wins the 2020 presidential election, he would reconsider relations with Saudi Arabia and prioritize U.S. commitments to democratic values and human rights even in relations with its closest partners.
These words terrified Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salmane, one of the main perpetrators of Khashoggi’s assassination.
In this regard, Saudi Arabia’s request to Russian officials to repair Riyadh’s relations with Tehran and Ankara was among the issues discussed by ben Farhan with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on January 14.
Lavrov stressed at a joint press conference after the meeting that his country was willing to play a mediating role and resolve Riyadh’s concerns.
Lavrov told the Saudi side that Russia was ready to convey Riyadh’s concerns to Iran, especially since Moscow reported an imminent visit by the head of Iranian diplomacy to Russia.
“Russia is interested in the dialogue between Iran and Arab countries, it is ready to help them in this direction, all issues of contention can be raised at a conference proposed by Moscow,” Lavrov said.
In light of Trump’s electoral defeat and Biden’s victory, Saudi Arabia appears to be willing to make a 180-degree turn in its foreign policy and redefine its relations.
by Xavier Cuesta – European Correspondent – EN