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Forget European Leaders – Saudi Crown Prince Received Warm Support From China & High-Five From Russia



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Dec 02 2018
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The U.S. Senate took a dramatic step on Thursday, moving to block U.S. involvement in the Saudi war in Yemen and sending a powerful message to Riyadh – the US-Saudi relationship is on the rocks. For Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, life goes on as usual as he can’t bring the dead back to life, not that he cares about the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

 

So, the favourite son of King Salman was expecting the worst when he decided to fly to Argentina, his first appearance on the international stage since Khashoggi was “brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces” inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after visiting the building on October 2. Everyone knew the crown prince gave the order to terminate the outspoken journalist.

 

Part of the reason the crown prince has to attend the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires was to assess the scale of the international rejection or isolation the king-in-waiting was facing. He could get the answer from the mingling, the handshakes, and the body language and of course, the family photo, of how the international leaders think of the next King of Saudi Arabia.

Jamal Khashoggi Assassination - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

For better or worse, Mohammed bin Salman is the only Arab leader in the G20 and there is absolutely no chance for other leaders not being able to notice him, judging by his traditional dress. He probably thinks that as a top crude oil producer and huge buyer of weapons, the world leaders would give face to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and would pretend to be friendly with him.

 

Sure enough, many leaders, including those from the U.S., South Korea, Mexico, South Africa and India, were willing to speak to him – briefly and formally but without a handshake. Hence, diplomatically speaking, the G20 Summit has not been a fruitful trip to the Saudi crown prince. It’s fair to say he got lectures from most of the European leaders for obvious reason.

 

When British Prime Minister Theresa May met Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since the murder of Khashoggi, she lectured and told the crown prince to make sure Saudi Arabia co-operated fully with the Turkish investigation. She said that to ensure full accountability, there had to be full transparency about what happened and who was responsible.

G20 Summit – British PM Theresa May with Saudi Crown Prince

G20 Summit – French President Macron with Saudi Crown Prince

The crown prince also appeared to receive a critical reception from French President Emmanuel Macron, who was overheard on a microphone voicing concern. “Don’t worry,” Prince Mohammed is heard saying in English to the French leader, who responds, “I do worry. I am worried.” Subsequently, Macron was telling the prince – “You never listen to me,” to which Mohammed replies, “No, I listen, of course.”

 

In a five-minute exchange on the sidelines of the G20 Summit between the French leader and the Saudi crown prince, President Macron reportedly conveyed a “very firm” message to the prince over the killing of Khashoggi and the need to find a political solution for the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen, where millions are on the brink of starvation in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

 

During a group photo marking the start of the summit, the crown prince stood at the far edge of the group like a naughty boy being punished – largely ignored and left alone as soon as it was over. Clearly, the world leaders attending the summit are still angry with the barbarian prince, and the Saudi cannot expect their prince would be easily forgiven for chopping a journalist to pieces.

G20 Summit – Saudi Crown Prince Being Ignored and Left Alone

G20 Summit – Saudi Crown Prince Being Ignored and Left Alone 2

Mohammed bin Salman was also seen chatting with President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka, but due to political pressure back in the U.S., the POTUS had to pretend he was quite angry over the Khashoggi murder. Still, everyone knew about the close relationship between the crown prince and Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner.

 

However, not all the leaders care about human rights. Mohammed bin Salman, the de-facto Saudi ruler received a warmer audience with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who offered his support to the Arab prince, despite international outcry over the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As far as Beijing is concerned, they do not interfere with the internal affairs of other countries and expect to be respected likewise.

 

After all, if the President of the United States doesn’t think there is anything wrong with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is to judge and criticise China for ignoring human rights? Both China-Saudi leaders reportedly discussed Saudi energy supplies to China and the crown prince’s 2030 vision as well as Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road Initiative.”

G20 Summit – Saudi Crown Prince with China President Xi Jinping

But the Chinese leader was not the only world leader who took the opportunity to enhance relationship with the Saudi future king when other European leaders appeared to abandon the toxic Arab leader. Fresh from  aggression on the Black Sea, where the Kremlin seized control of three Ukrainian ships and detained two dozen Ukrainian sailors, Russian President Vladimir Putin knew the game too well.

 

Like two buddies, Putin greeted the Saudi prince warmly, giving him a “high five” as they sat down together at the large ring-shaped table for the first group session. Both leaders knew how it felt being considered a pariah by the so-called democratic world leaders. Like Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin is a master of pissing the liberal Western leaders while strategically stay close to Saudi Arabia.

 

Naturally, the photo of Russian President Putin and the 33-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman grinned broadly and gave each other an effusive handshake as if they were long-lost friends reunited at the G20, has since gone viral. Putin reportedly would meet the prince on Saturday and discuss about boosting Saudi Arabia’s US$2 billion investment in Russia.

G20 Summit – Saudi Crown Prince with Russia Vladimir Putin - High Five

G20-Summit-SaudiCrownPrince-Russia-Putin-High5

Perhaps both Russia and Saudi have already reached a pact to cut oil production before even the OPEC cartel meets on December 6 in Vienna. Anyway, the Saudi prince should be grateful and happy that German Chancellor Angela Merkel could not make it to the summit because her plane had broken down on the way to Argentina. She would have given him an earful of lecture about human rights too.

G20 Summit – Saudi Crown Prince with Russia Vladimir Putin

 

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