Ukraine’s Zelenskiy visits Saudi, seeks Arab League backing for his people
Friday, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, went to a meeting of the Arab League in Saudi Arabia to ask for help for his country. At the same time, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, said that he was willing to help end the war between Moscow and Kyiv.
At the Jeddah meeting, Arab leaders also welcomed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad back into their group after a decade of isolation. Russia has helped Bashar al-Assad a lot in his country’s civil war.
In his opening speech, the Saudi Crown Prince said, “We reaffirm that the kingdom is ready to continue mediating between Russia and Ukraine and to support all international efforts to end the crisis politically in a way that helps to achieve security.”
Prince Mohammed has been a peacemaker in the past.
Zelenskiy, who was also supposed to go to a meeting of G7 leaders this weekend in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, thanked Saudi Arabia for its help in the past and said that each delegate would get a copy of his 10-point peace plan. He asked them to work straight with Ukraine, without going through anyone else.
Even though the West has tried to get Gulf oil producers to help isolate Russia, which is also a member of OPEC+, Gulf states have tried to stay neutral in the Ukraine war.
People from harm
In his speech to the summit, Zelenskiy said that some countries, like Arab League members, chose to “turn a blind eye” to Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian land and jailing of some Ukrainians during the 15-month war.
“I’m sure we can all work together to get people out of Russian prison cells,” he said in English.
Last year, Crown Prince Mohammed pulled off a political coup by getting 10 foreigners held by Russia in Ukraine to be set free. It seems that his close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin made this move possible.
Zelenskiy wrote on Twitter soon after arriving in Jeddah, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays an important role, and we are ready to take our cooperation to a new level.”
The United States was very harsh on Saudi Arabia after OPEC+ decided to cut oil production, which was seen as helping Russia fill its coffers by making prices go up.
Even though the United States and other Western countries were upset by the October decision at first, changes in the market have shown that the cuts were wise.
At a time when Russia’s war in Ukraine has shaken up global energy markets, the role the kingdom plays as the world’s biggest oil exporter has become more important to both Washington and Moscow.