Global Post: Moscow has rejected a Saudi proposal to abandon Syria‘s president in return for a huge arms deal and a pledge to boost Russian influence in the Arab world, diplomats told AFP.
On July 31, President Vladimir Putin, a strong backer of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, met Saudi Arabia‘s influential intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, after which both Moscow and Riyadh kept a lid on the substance of the talks.
“Every two years, Bandar bin Sultan meets his Russian counterparts, but this time, he wanted to meet the head of state,” said a European diplomat who shuttles between Beirut and Damascus.
“During the meeting at the Kremlin, the Saudi official explained to his interlocutor that Riyadh is ready to help Moscow play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region,” the diplomat added.
Bandar proposed that Saudi Arabia buy $15 billion (11 billion euros) of weapons from Russia and invest “considerably in the country,” the source said.