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Saudi, Syrian foreign ministers visit Moscow for talks

After separate sets of discussions with the Syrian and Saudi foreign ministers, Russia continues to dwell on its displeasure with US moves in Syria.

The looming battle for Idlib, the last major rebel bastion in Syria, sidelined all other issues at news conferences following recent talks in Moscow between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts from Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Lavrov made it clear at both news conferences that a military operation in Idlib was unavoidable and that there was further progress in Russian-Turkish talks over the issue. However, Moscow is particularly concerned about the US presence on the ground and what the White House’s Syria strategy will be. Lavrov’s remarks at the news conferences actually resembled a virtual debate of sorts with US counterparts. What lent a certain piquancy to the situation is that Saudi Arabia is Washington’s closest Arab ally; however, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir went out of his way not to speak ill of either Moscow or Washington.

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