The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Cairo and Amman on April 7-8 inaugurated an exceptional month for Moscow’s relations with the Arab world. Never has Russia had such an ambitious schedule rife with contacts with the Middle East, with items on the agenda ranging from politics to economics. The level of the meetings varied just as much, involving government ministers, businesspeople and public organizations.
The timing of Lavrov's trip must be highlighted. It practically followed the summit of the Arab League, which failed to broach the subject of restoring Syrian membership, much to Russia’s dismay and despite its efforts. Russian diplomatic sources told Al-Monitor that Moscow blames this on Washington; it is believed here that the Trump administration exerted pressure on some Arab states to leave the subject off the agenda. Russian officials say this seems contrary to US and certain Arab interests in terms of isolating Iran, because Syria's return to the Arab League would likely boost Arab and reduce Iranian influence in Syria.