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Putin: Differences between Saudi Arabia, Iran complicate resolution of Syrian problem

January 12, 2016, 8:57 UTC+3

The Russian president underscored that Russia is ready, if necessary, to take part in the resolution of the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran

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© AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, Archive

SOCHI, January 12. /TASS/. Differences between Saudi Arabia and Iran complicate the resolution of the Syrian problem, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the German newspaper Bild.

"It hampers the efforts to settle the Syrian crisis and the fight against terrorism, as well as the process of halting the inflow of refugees to Europe, that much is certain," Putin said.

"As for whether this will lead to a major regional clash, I do not know. I would rather not talk or even think in these terms. We have very good relations with Iran and our partnership with Saudi Arabia is stable," he said.

Putin underscored that Russia is ready, if necessary, to take part in the resolution of the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

"If our participation in any form is needed, we are ready to do everything possible to resolve the conflict as soon as possible," Putin said.

The crisis in the relations between Riyadh and Tehran flared up January 2 after the execution of Shiite preacher Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia.

In response, Iranian protesters organized pogroms in Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic. After that, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan and Djibouti severed diplomatic relations with Iran, demanding that Iranian diplomats leave their territory.

The United Arab Emirates lowered the level of their relations with Iran to charges d’affaires and cut the number of accredited Iranian diplomats. The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry recalled from Tehran its ambassador. Besides, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain completely terminated air services with Iran.

Putin said Russia regrets that the two countries’ relations deteriorated.

"We regret this has happened, especially given that the cleric had not been fighting against Saudi Arabia with lethal force," he said.

"Yet it is true that an embassy attack is a totally unacceptable occurrence in the modern world. As far as I know, the Iranian authorities have arrested several perpetrators of the assault.

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