JEDDAH, Sept 10, (Agencies): Russia fully supports Kuwait in its efforts to defuse tensions amid an ongoing Gulf diplomatic crisis involving Qatar and a quartet of Arab nations, its foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sunday.
In a press conference alongside his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir, Lavrov expressed hope that Kuwait’s attempt to mediate the Gulf crisis would come to fruition. On developments in Syria, he said that his country throws its weight behind Saudi Arabia as it seeks to unite the Syrian opposition and that Moscow and Riyadh are working towards a political solution to the conflict.
Lavrov added that de-escalation zones in Syria, which he said were conducive to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, aim to reduce violence in the war-torn nation, while allowing humanitarian aid to pour in unimpeded.
Meanwhile, Al-Jubeir said that talks with his Russian counterpart also included the Middle East peace process and the fight against terrorism, at a time where the Iraqi military is waging a battle against the so-called Islamic State.
On the Palestinian issue, Al-Jubeir noted that US President Donald Trump has proposed new ideas to revive the stalled Middle East peace process. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia said Sunday it would keep pressuring Qatar until demands by a bloc of Arab states are met, dampening hopes for a US-mediated resolution to a diplomatic crisis. “We will continue to take action and we will maintain our position until Qatar responds,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
The bloc’s 13 demands include Doha ending its alleged support for Islamist extremist groups, closing a Turkish military base in the emirate and downgrading diplomatic ties with Tehran. Qatar “must respond to these requests in order to open a new page,” Jubeir said. The Saudi move came just two days after Trump spoke with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a bid to mediate. Trump said he believed the dispute could be solved “fairly easily”. The Saudi and Qatari rulers spoke by phone on Saturday, raising hope for talks.