Russia is one country that is not letting the international furor over the fate of dissident Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi disrupt its ties with the oil-rich kingdom.
Even as U.S. and European officials and corporate titans were canceling their travel plans, Russian officials were out in force on the opening day of a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been strongly implicated in the apparent death of the U.S.-based Mr. Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey Oct. 2.
“Saudi Arabia is a great partner for us, not just a partner in investments or oil,” Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian government’s $10 billion state-controlled sovereign investment fund, told attendees at the conference Tuesday, according to Euronews.
“There are many Russian companies here from the petrochemical sector and other sectors. They want to invest in Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Dmitriev said.
President Trump has faced increasing pressure to scale back U.S. diplomatic and commercial ties to Saudi Arabia in light of the Khashoggi scandal, but has cited the potential for Riyadh to turn to China and Russia as a reason for caution.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the Kremlin does not have enough information to judge the level of Saudi government complicity in the journalist’s killing and other top aides have hinted the incident is an internal affair for the Saudis to deal with. Mr. Putin has tried to cultivate the 33-year-old crown prince in a bid to coordinate policy between two of the world’s biggest oil-producing nations.
“We’ve all heard the official statements from Riyadh on the case denying members of the royal family had any role,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Moscow Times Tuesday. “We’ve taken that into account. The rest is a matter for investigators.”