Saudi Arabian leaders are generally counted as low-key attendees of international summit. This time Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salem was a focus of unwanted attention, amid brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, in Saudi consulate.
G20 summit was the first-ever international summit event met by Salem. Khashoggi being critics of Salem’s policies, CIA stated the involvement of Salem into the murder of Khashoggi and also said Salem had called for his murder, a thing which Saudi Arabia denies.
Salem met many leaders at G20 summit in Argentina. A critical important issue was to talk about oil. Other issue was to bind Salem down on his on-going war in Yemen. Salem was spotted having talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, handshaking and with arm pats.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told Salem that China has backed his request for economic diversification and called them to better combine their key economic programs- Road trade initiative and China’s belt and the Saudi vision 2030.
However, an ally of Trump, republican senator Lindsey Graham, in a tweet, termed Putin and Salem as “birds of a feather”. The US has rebuffed Saudi’s request for some formal meeting.
Salem also met with French President Emmanuel Macron. An official made a statement that Macron doesn’t want to meet and speak with Salem because “we were not going to play hide and seek. Things had to be told frankly, and very firmly”.
Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday, announces sanctions against 17 Saudi nations, whereas Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday, talked with Salem to redirect them to the explanation on Khashoggi’s murder and also month-long diplomatic war between the two countries. Trudeau said, “I continue to believe that conversations, frank and direct conversations between leaders, is better than not talking.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was not seen with Salem having talk or a meeting. No reports of them has been recorded.
President of the Middle East Institute Paul Salem said, “The G-20 is not a court of law; it’s a place where leaders transact business and Saudi Arabia is way too important simply to shun like some might shun a more marginal country like Sudan or Syria,” adding, “And its role today in bringing down oil prices is of huge global importance.”
Salem said, “The G-20 meeting for him wasn’t a win and it wasn’t a loss.” He further said, “He was neither fully embraced, nor was he fully shunned. This shows that political and economic interests will continue to ‘trump’ moral positions, as they have done with other illiberal leaders like Putin, Xi and Trump.”