Saudi Arabia refuses to change stance on Ukraine conflict
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has said that Riyadh and other Arab states are taking an impartial stance in the Ukraine-Russia conflict and want to maintain ties with both parties. He made the statement after the conclusion of the Arab League summit in Jeddah on Friday, which was attended by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
“Since the beginning of the crisis, the Arab countries have taken a position of positive neutrality, opening dialogue with the Russian and Ukrainian parties, while ensuring Arab relations with the two sides,” the diplomat said, adding, “we welcome hearing the viewpoints of both sides of [the] Russia-Ukrainian conflict.”
The Ukrainian leader insisted, without singling anyone out, that some Arab nations have been turning a blind eye to Moscow’s “illegal annexations.”
Saudi Arabia has declined to take part in the Western sanctions on Moscow, which include efforts to curtail its energy exports. Riyadh’s continued cooperation with Russia through OPEC+, a cartel of oil exporters, has drawn criticism from the US.
Riyadh has expressed hope that it could broker a resolution to the conflict, pledging to maintain trade and diplomatic ties with both Russia and Ukraine.
After meeting with Zelensky earlier on Friday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke about “the kingdom’s readiness to continue mediating efforts between Russia and Ukraine.” He said he would “support all international efforts aimed at resolving the crisis politically in a way that contributes to achieving security.”
The Saudi foreign minister visited Kiev and Moscow for high-level talks in 2022, and later said that bin Salman was involved in negotiating a prisoner swap between the two sides last September, which he hailed as a “humanitarian breakthrough.”