RIYADH: King Salman held talks on Sunday with Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, on “relations between the two countries and the prospects of bilateral cooperation,” according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“Besides King Salman, Russian Parliament speaker Matviyenko met separately with Shoura Council chairman Sheikh Abdullah Al-Asheikh and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and discussed a range of issues of common concerns,” said a spokesman of the Shoura Council.
The audience with the king was attended by Al-Asheikh, Al-Jubeir, Cabinet members Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban and Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Adel Al-Toraifi, minister of culture and information, and Sergei Kozlov, Russian ambassador to the Kingdom.
Matviyenko’s talks with Saudi officials also focused on joint cooperation in fighting terrorism, according to the Russian News Agency (TASS). The two sides reaffirmed the need to hold dialogue, which will go a long way in narrowing differences between the approaches of the two nations on key regional issues affecting the Middle East.
The talks also focused on Russian-Saudi relations and inter-parliamentary cooperation. The Russian delegation assured its Saudi counterpart on the importance of unifying efforts to fight terror, achieve regional stability and settle disputes. Speaking here on Sunday, Matviyenko touched on regional issues.
“Russia does not accept use of chemical weapons, but before accusations are presented, an independent investigation should be organized,” she said.
Matviyenko said that “Russia is categorically against chemical weapons’ use, but we believe before accusing anyone, whatever party, it is necessary to have a thorough investigation by a specialized organization on prohibition of chemical weapons with involvement of independent experts from different countries.
“We already have the experience, when under artificial reasons of existing chemical weapons the Western coalition invaded Iraq, and we know what came out of it,” she said.
Matviyenko also said: “We do not want unproved scenarios of the kind to repeat, and we do not want anyone to invent reasons for invading sovereign countries.
“At the same time, we know that certain terrorist organizations are making chemical weapons and use them from time to time in different countries,” she added.
Matviyenko, who is leading a 15-member Russian delegation, arrived here Saturday night. The delegation includes eight members of Russian parliament besides seven officials. She will wrap up her three-day visit on Monday after paying visits to some historical places including the national museum.