- Moscow could soon bridge the Sunni-Shia divide by mediating talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran
- The news comes after Russia's Foreign Minister said that the Kremlin had made numerous attempts to get the two sides talking
- Russia has enjoyed increasing influence in the Middle East in the wake of the Syrian conflict, where it has fought alongside Iranian troops
- Moscow has also sealed a massive weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, reported to be worth around $3 billion
Russia could be set to mediate talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran as a sign of the Kremlin’s ongoing influence in the Middle East.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that the country had previously offered to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“However, we do not impose our intermediary role,” he said.
“Much depends on these two countries understanding and, we hope, their cooperation, especially in the fight against terrorism.”
Bogdanov’s comments come at a time when relations between both sides are tense.
Tehran has previously said it will only resume diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, under certain conditions including an end to the KSA’s military operations in Yemen.
Earlier this week Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi said the two countries have planned visits to inspect diplomatic premises but they have not yet taken place.
In a statement, Qasimi said that Saudi Arabia “must end its irrational behavior towards Iran and the region’s countries” and end its “aggression against the oppressed people of Yemen.”
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This puts Russia in prime position to negotiate between the two sides with whom it enjoys favorable relations.
Russian pilots are providing air support for the Syrian regime and Iranian military personnel in Syria.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin also enjoys favorable relations with Riyadh and recently landed a $3 billion weapons deal with the Gulf state.
The deal will supply the Saudis with Russia’s S400 Triumph missile system in a deal to be signed off at the end of this month.
Moscow has also enjoyed growing influence with Saudi-allied Egypt. President Putin has made numerous visits to Cairo as the countries have traded arms.
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