19:39 GMT +320 July 2018
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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a joint press conference following Sergei Lavrov's meeting with foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Moscow

    Differences Over Syria Do Not Preclude Russian-Saudi Cooperation

    © AFP 2018 / KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV
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    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said that disagreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia over approaches to resolving the Syrian conflict have not had an impact on the level of cooperation between the two countries.

    CAIRO (Sputnik) — Disagreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia over approaches to resolving the Syrian conflict have not had an impact on the level of cooperation between the two countries, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said.

    "The differences of opinion with Russia regarding the Syrian crisis do not impact the level of cooperation. Both sides are carrying on coordinating and consulting on the matter in order to converge approaches to the problem," Jubeir said, as quoted by the Al Riyadh newspaper.

    Saudi Arabia seeks to build the best possible relations with Russia, the minister added, stressing that Russia is an important power that respects the principle of national sovereignty.

    Saudi Arabia and Russia have coinciding views on a range of regional problems aside from the Syrian issue, such as Palestine, Jubeir said.

    In July, Jubeir said in an interview with the Politico newspaper that Saudi Arabia was ready to offer Russia access to the Gulf Cooperation Council market and regional investment fund if it stopped supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups. On February 27, a US-Russia brokered ceasefire came into force in Syria. Terrorist groups such as Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh), as well as Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), both outlawed in Russia and a range of other states, are not part of the deal.

    The fate of the Syrian president has been a sticking point in the Geneva intra-Syrian peace talks, as well as in discussions among the mediators. Russia has insisted that the Syrian people must have the full say in their country's political transition, while the Riyadh-formed Syrian opposition delegation, as well as Saudi Arabia and various Western countries, have stressed that Assad must leave at the start of the transitional period regardless.

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    Adel Ahmed al-Jubeir, Russia, Saudi Arabia
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