Friday, 25 September 2015 | As Russia appears to vie for an assertive role in the Middle East by establishing a military presence in Syria, Middle Eastern leaders are “lining up” to meet with President Vladimir Putin, The Moscow Times reports.
According to the report, Turkish President Recap Erdogan was the third Middle Eastern leader to visit Moscow for talks with Putin this week.
Erdogan’s trip to Russia follows in the footsteps of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Putin in Moscow on Monday, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who had a turn on Tuesday.
The succession of three Middle Eastern leaders in so many days paying a visit to Moscow is seemingly the result of a visible increase of Russian military forces at a Kremlin-held base off the coast of Syria, The Moscow Times reports.
According to US officials, recent weeks have seen Russian fighter jets, tanks, air-defense systems and armored personnel carriers arriving in the area. The Kremlin claims, however, that the buildup is strictly routine.
“Russia has sharply increased its work, presence and interest in Syria … it is completely natural that the key players in the region want to know what Russia is planning,” Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of The Russia in Global Affairs Journal, told The Moscow Times.
It appears that Netanyahu, Abbas and Erdogan are not the only ones who have spoken to Putin recently. Over the past few weeks, Moscow has increased its diplomatic communications with other Middle Eastern countries. According to The Moscow Times, the last two months have seen telephonic contact between Putin and the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as well as the leaders of Egypt, Abu Dhabi and Jordan.
“Russia already has a tactical vision,” The Moscow Times quoted Lukyanov as saying.
The increased communication with Middle Eastern leaders comes in the wake of Putin’s statement last month that he planned to form a coalition of countries to stand against the Islamic State.
“I have spoken about this question with the president of Turkey, with the leadership of Saudi Arabia, with the king of Jordan, with the president of Egypt and our other partners. We are in contact with military agencies, and recently, the leaders of the general headquarters of countries close to this conflict came to Moscow,” Putin told reporters earlier this month.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 25 September 2015)
Photo Credit: Jno/wikipedia.org
Posted on September 25, 2015
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