Lavrov welcomes Saudi FM to Moscow

Simmering tensions between the White House and Saudi Arabia have led the kingdom to deepen cooperation with other partners, such as Russia and China

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov received his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, in Moscow on 9 March to discuss bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, Lavrov stressed that all ministries concerned with enhancing cooperation are in constant contact with each other, especially regarding the economy and mutual trade.

The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia thanked his Russian counterpart for the warm welcome in Moscow and stressed that the two countries “always strive to develop and strengthen” their relationship.

“We are holding the meeting today on the grounds of the extended history of the distinguished relationship between our two countries, and we look forward to the discussions today, and the existing cooperation between our officials will contribute to unifying visions and supporting bilateral relations between the two countries in broader fields,” he added.

The meeting between the two foreign ministers in Moscow is a further step towards deepen the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Russia after the kingdom announced its eagerness to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRICS group, an economic association comprised of the world’s five largest rising economies.

In an interview with RIA Novosti news agency on 12 February, Sergey Kozlov, Russia’s ambassador to the kingdom, asserted that Saudi Arabia was eager to join organizations like the SCO and BRICS as part of the kingdom’s effort to diversify its foreign policy.

Edward Luce wrote in the Financial Times on 21 September that the current tensions between Saudi Arabia and US President Joe Biden’s administration have forced MbS to move towards Russia.

Even with Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia last July, the tensions in their relationship have only escalated, as the kingdom refused to help the US lower gasoline prices back home.

The western-led sanctions targeting the Russian energy market caused an uproar in global markets and fears of a looming energy supply crisis.

The crown prince’s stance, and refusal to increase oil output to lower oil prices, have tilted the balance in favor of Russia in the face of US sanctions, which are intended to hinder Moscow’s war efforts in Ukraine.