Russia’s actions in Syria are “very dangerous,” according to Saudi Arabia, which has demanded an unconditional exit by President Bashar Assad as a necessary step in ending the Syrian Civil War that has raged since 2011.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Vienna that the kingdom had sent a clear message to Russia. “We believe that it will be viewed as Russia inserting itself in a sectarian conflict in the Middle East,” Arab News quoted the Saudi minister as saying. “We’re concerned that this will trigger emotions in the Muslim world that will cause an increase in fighters to go to Syria.”
Al-Jubeir said Assad would have only one role to play in Syria’s future, which would center on his departing the country. “His role would be to leave Syria. ... The best-case scenario is that we wake up in the morning and Assad is not there,” he said.
Al-Jubeir spoke to reporters before attending a Friday meeting with his American, Russian and Turkish counterparts: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu. “We believe that the Russian interference in Syria is very dangerous because it exacerbates the conflict,” al-Jubeir said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in the Russian town of Sochi Thursday that Syria could become a “model for partnership” for Russia and the West. He said there was a similar opportunity at the end of the Cold War, but it was wasted at that time. He also said the U.S. was attempting to dominate the world alone, the New York Times reported.