Russian Foreign Minister Russia Sergey Lavrov embarked on a four-day tour of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE on March 4. But while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tour of the Middle East in January sought to showcase Washington’s commitment to its regional allies, Lavrov senses that currents are changing and that Moscow needs to more actively put itself on the radar of powerful monarchies.
The Gulf has become a regular, even routine, destination for Russian diplomats. However, the Syrian conflict and Iran have dominated agendas for the past few years, never giving Russian diplomats and their counterparts a chance to explore the depth of relations. A multi-day regional tour to check the status of relations was long overdue.