Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Tuesday with Adel al-Jubeir, his Saudi Arabian counterpart, on terrorism issues in the Middle East. The foreign ministers, however, failed to agree on the inclusion of Syrian President Bashar Assad in a proposed coalition against Islamic State militants.
Jubeir said his country highly valued ties with Russia. He added that Saudi Arabia would never forget that the USSR was the first country to recognize it and establish diplomatic relations.
While Russia wants to form a collation with Assad to counter Islamic State militants, Saudi Arabia believes Assad is a part of the problem so he cannot be a part of the solution. “There is no place for Assad in the future of Syria,” Reuters quoted Jubeir talking at a news conference after talks with Lavrov, "A key reason behind the emergence of Islamic State was the actions of Assad, who directed his arms at his nation, not Islamic State."
Lavrov referred to a meeting held between Russian and Saudi officials in Doha, Qatar. He said he would expect to have productive talks about “different aspects” of the Middle East crisis, the Russian news agency Tass reported.
Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally in the coalition that has been launching airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. However, Lavrov said the coalition forces were not likely to be successful against the extremists.
Lavrov explained that Russia wants all the countries fighting against ISIS to come together. He said this would make the possibilities of success against the extremist forces much greater. He added that the proposed coalition would include Kurdish forces, Syrian and Iraqi armies and some rebel groups in Syria.