Saudi Arabia offers to mediate between Russia and Ukraine

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Refugees warm up around a bonfire outside the Lviv train station, western Ukraine, on March 03, 2022. AFP
  • Arab countries in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia, have mostly refrained from criticizing the invasion by Russia
  • On Wednesday, however, they voted for a UN General Assembly resolution urging Russia to withdraw from Ukraine

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offered to host mediation talks between Russia and Ukraine in a phone call on Thursday with Russian leader Vladimir Putin as the conflict entered its second week.

The Gulf state’s leader called for a “political solution” after the Russian invasion and also reiterated his support for the OPEC+ group of oil producers, which includes Russia, to stabilize oil markets.

“The crown prince explained the kingdom’s… support for efforts that lead to a political solution that leads to (the war’s) end and achieves security and stability, and that the kingdom is ready to make efforts to mediate between all parties,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

Arab countries in the Gulf including Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, have mostly refrained from criticizing the invasion by Russia, with which they have growing ties.

On Wednesday, however, the Gulf states voted for a UN General Assembly resolution that “demands” Russia “immediately” withdraw from Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are both members of OPEC+, which opted to keep production steady this week despite the soaring cost of oil, with Brent North Sea crude flirting with $120 a barrel on Thursday.

The prince “reiterated the kingdom’s keenness to maintain the balance and stability of oil markets, highlighting the role of the OPEC+ agreement in this regard and the importance of maintaining it”, SPA said.