The go to of Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar from March 9 to 11 passed off in opposition to a backdrop of uncertainty amongst these states as to their future relations with the brand new US administration, who rethinks a lot of President Donald Trump’s approaches. to Center Japanese Affairs. On this context, Moscow seeks to remind the primary Arab monarchies of its want to fill the doable “void” that would come up if their hyperlinks with Washington stagnate, each within the subject of safety and within the military-technical and military-political spheres. .
Alternatively, Moscow has demonstrated – particularly to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – its adherence to considering their pursuits within the area and specializing in selling joint financial applications. Russia additionally clarified that the premise of its partnership with Ankara, the primary regional rival of Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, just isn’t widespread geopolitical pursuits, however above all mutual profit. This interplay will final so long as the events can obtain dividends from it. Thus, Russia will even take into account any type of strengthening ties with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which might compete with main Russian-Turkish initiatives.
That is in all probability why Lavrov’s go to to Saudi Arabia coincided with the tv broadcast (with the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) of the opening of the Akkuyu nuclear energy March 10 plant, constructed by Russian specialists in Turkey. Russia gives the Gulf nations the chance to develop their very own nuclear energy with the assistance of the Russian monopoly Rosatom, as Ankara has already finished. As well as, Moscow, which has delivered its S-400 anti-aircraft missile techniques to Turkey, has additionally repeatedly indicated to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that if they’re , they’re prepared to promote them these. techniques.
On the similar time, whereas Lavrov’s go to to Saudi Arabia went typically with out incident and was largely a matter of ‘protocol’, the go to of the top of the Russian International Ministry to Abu Dhabi may be seen as a landmark occasion – primarily associated to the Syrian Manner of Russian international coverage.
Particularly, following discussions with Lavrov, UAE International Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan stated he referred to as for the gradual return of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad to the Arab League. . He famous, nonetheless, that this will even require efforts from each the Syrian facet and members of the Arab League. Extra importantly, the UAE international minister disagreed with the US strategy in Damascus. He referred to as the Caesar Act and the sanctions in opposition to Damascus a “large impediment” to coordination and cooperation with Syria, which the UAE wish to develop. The UAE has already restored diplomatic relations with Syria.
Such statements from the United Arab Emirates have confirmed the significance of Abu Dhabi as Moscow’s key associate within the Center East. We must always in all probability count on additional steps from Russia and the Emirates to beat or bypass the sanctions in opposition to Syria. Russia wish to entice Emirati funds to revive the destroyed Syrian financial system and the nation’s infrastructure.
Particularly, Russia and the UAE might use the “Kurdish issue” in Syria to create offshore areas. We’re speaking about northeastern Syria, which is underneath the management of the Syrian Kurdish-Arab Democratic Forces (SDF). Abu Dhabi has pretty shut hyperlinks with these formations, as does Russia, which performs the position of mediator within the negotiations between the Kurds and the Assad regime. This isn’t to say that Russian and Syrian troops (in addition to American troops) are additionally stationed in areas underneath the auspices of the SDF on the premise of the Sochi memorandum. On the similar time, some cities (like Qamishli) are underneath the blended management of presidency forces and the Kurds. This creates a chance for the creation of “grey areas” in these areas the place Emirati firms might function with out falling underneath Caesar legislation, and their funds and providers may be utilized in Damascus.
One other such “zone” could possibly be southern Syria, the place “reconciled opposition” forces are nonetheless working; a part of it turned a part of the pro-Russian fifth Syrian Corps. Many opposition fighters in these areas even have ties to the United Arab Emirates, which supported them through the battle and helped to strike reconciliation offers with the Russian navy and the Assad regime. Subsequently, the creation of a particular zone in southern Syria, from which it will be doable to oust pro-Iranian formations and the place the primary position would stay with the reconciled opposition, could be within the pursuits of the safety of the nation. ‘Israel, and due to this fact wouldn’t arouse opposition from the USA relating to the location of UAE investments in that nation.
Typically, Lavrov’s go to to the UAE confirmed that the 2 nations have comparable assessments of the state of affairs within the Center East. Other than Syria, the positions of Moscow and Abu Dhabi are additionally shut within the Libyan case. Right here it is sufficient to point out the increasingly frequent studies UAE presumably funding non-public Russian navy firms in Libya. Russia additionally sees the UAE as an necessary component within the struggle in opposition to radical Islamism and terrorism within the area. Subsequently, the enlargement of the navy presence of the UAE armed forces and the institution of a community of UAE navy bases within the nations of the area are considered positively by the Russian facet.
On the similar time, the outcomes of the Lavrov talks in Qatar additionally deserve particular consideration. Right here, Russian diplomacy has proven its capacity to “sit on a number of chairs” and after the UAE’s decisive statements on Syria, it has discovered one thing to supply the UAE’s foremost rivals for affect within the area. – particularly Qatar and Turkey.
For instance, an everyday trilateral assembly of the international ministers of Russia, Turkey and Qatar was held in Doha, throughout which it was determined to provide these contacts an everyday character and create one other format. “Triple” for the Syrian settlement of those states. Though the Syrian Moscow-Ankara-Doha “troika” acts solely on the degree of heads of international affairs companies, and never heads of state as occurs with the Moscow-Astana 1 “trio” Ankara-Tehran, there’s at all times a big space right here to fill this interplay with sensible content material.
Based on Lavrov, the trilateral consultations between Russia, Qatar and Turkey on a Syrian settlement don’t substitute the work within the Astana format, however complement it.
“This format (Russia-Qatar-Turkey) has been round for over a yr. Our representatives have met a minimum of thrice to trade views on tips on how to assist resolve the Syrian disaster in accordance with [UN Security Council] Decision 2254. And, in fact, it doesn’t substitute the Astana format in any approach, it enhances it ”. Lavrov stated throughout her go to.
Maybe probably the most promising space of work for this “troika” could possibly be the supply of help to Syrian refugees, which was additionally on the middle of the discussions. Particularly, it will be in Turkey’s curiosity to draw Qatari funds to construct infrastructure for Syrian displaced individuals in Idlib, Afrin and in Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring space. It could additionally enable a few of the Syrian refugees in Turkey itself to be returned to these territories. On the similar time, Moscow – though it declares the necessity to return all of Syria to the federal government in Damascus as quickly as doable – just isn’t actually against supporting Syrian displaced individuals in areas managed by the opposition. In response, the Russian facet would love a part of the funds to be redirected to areas managed by the Syrian regime, in order that situations may be created there for the return of Syrian refugees, primarily from Lebanon and Jordan.
As well as, the creation of such a format can be a positive sign for Tehran, whose participation within the “Astana troika” has change into an empty formality.
Throughout Lavrov’s go to to Doha, consideration was additionally paid to the event of Qataro-Russian financial relations. Qatar is a significant investor within the Russian financial system. It is necessary for Russia that the investments of the Qatari sovereign wealth fund be directed not solely to the oil manufacturing sector (Rosneft firm), but in addition to move, logistics (Pulkovo airport in Saint Petersburg), agriculture and distribution chains, and many others. Moscow is excited about growing such cooperation.
But the Syrian agenda nonetheless prevails within the conferences of Russian officers with representatives of the Persian Gulf monarchies. With out the “Syrian case” of widespread pursuits, Moscow and the Gulf capitals would have a lot much less in widespread. Russian diplomacy should due to this fact proceed its efforts to lastly free its program within the Center East from the “shackles” of the Syrian marketing campaign; in any other case, the significance of Russia as a regional actor will diminish. Furthermore, underneath such situations there may be no query of making an attempt to compete with the USA for affect within the area.