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Russia and Arabs agree on US, spar over Iran

The Moscow-hosted fifth ministerial meeting between Russia and the Arab League exposed some disagreements but helped bring Russia and the Arabs closer on other issues.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (4th R, front) and Arab League's Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (3rd R, front) and other participants of the talks pose for a picture in Moscow, Russia April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov - RC16F50591A0

On April 16, Moscow hosted the fifth ministerial session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, which was attended by an unprecedented number of top Arab diplomats. Organized by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Arab League, the meeting testified to a self-evident fact: Relations between Russia and the Arab world seem cordial, at least when it comes to their disagreement over the US vision of a world order. This happy idyll, however, is illusory, as the relationships are riddled with differences, many of which are rooted in the discord within the Arab camp itself.

The conference in Moscow produced two documents: a declaration and a three-year action plan. The latter covers cooperation opportunities for businesses, nongovernmental organizations and academia in different spheres, ranging from the economy to culture. As for the specifics, they include a commitment to participating in various trade show exhibitions for the manufacturing and food industry. Both documents were made available to Al-Monitor.

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