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Russian foreign minister’s visit aimed at challenging US influence in Gulf

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent visit to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar came amid uncertainty among these states about their future relations with the new US administration.
Sergey Lavrov, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and Mevlut Cavusoglu

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar on March 9-11 took place against the backdrop of uncertainty among these states about their future relations with the new US administration, which is rethinking many of President Donald Trump's approaches to Middle East affairs. Amid this context, Moscow is seeking to remind the leading Arab monarchies of its readiness to fill the possible "void" that could arise if their ties with Washington stagnate, both in the security sphere and in the military-technical and military-political spheres.

On the other hand, Moscow demonstrated — especially to Saudi Arabia and the UAE — its adherence to the course of taking into account their interests in the region and focusing on promoting joint economic programs. Russia also made it clear that the basis of its partnership with Ankara, the main regional rival of Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, is not common geopolitical interests, but above all mutual benefit. Such interaction will last as long as the parties can receive dividends from it. Thus Russia will also consider any forms of strengthening ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which could compete with Russian-Turkish projects in importance.

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