Skip to main content

How did Lavrov do on his Gulf tour?

During his tour of the Gulf, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov treaded carefully around politics, opting to speak publicly about a safer topic, economics.
Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is seen during a news conference with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Satish Kumar - RC19A7AA4720

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently concluded a four-day trip to the Persian Gulf. As Lavrov tried to navigate a political minefield, he carefully chose his words and was cautious about the topics he discussed. He avoided sensitive issues and tailored a custom approach for all his destinations: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Sometimes he chose his words so carefully, and without much specificity, that he barely said anything at all. Reporters, accustomed to Lavrov's usual vivid style of speech, could not find much to report on, given the lean nature of his statements.

Contrary to some assessments, Lavrov preferred to focus on prospects of economic cooperation rather than politics. It made sense since the trip's purpose was to invite Arab nations to several events Moscow is hosting in April, including the fifth ministerial session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, the Arabia-EXPO forum and a session of the Russian-Arab Business Council. Whether the Gulf countries will send high-level visitors is still undetermined.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.