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    Release of prisoners: Epitome of Mohammed bin Salman’s sagacious statesmanship


    Sep 28, 2022

    Saudi Gazette report

    RIYADH — The successful mediation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that resulted in the release of 10 foreign prisoners of war by Russia is the latest example of the Saudi leader’s stature as a sagacious statesman who enjoys strong and intimate relations with the world leaders both in the West and the East.

    The released prisoners included five Britons, two Americans, and one prisoner each from Morocco, Sweden and Croatia.

    The Crown Prince’s outstanding diplomatic maneuvering in the release of the prisoners has been instrumental in further catapulting the prestigious position of Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, as one of the pioneering global leaders in humanitarian initiatives. Both Washington and Moscow have realized this fact at a time when the ongoing war in Ukraine is roiling the global energy markets.

    The political weight, the high international standing, and the balanced relations that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman enjoys with all parties and states, have contributed to the success of mediation and the release of prisoners, which may pave the way for broader mediation in this humanitarian file.

    The remarkable prisoner release initiative also indicates the synergy and rapport in relations maintained by the Crown Prince with the world leaders, featuring a balanced and moderate approach. The Crown Prince’s statesmanship and intimate personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his rival Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were instrumental in the successful mediation that led to the release of the prisoners

    Both Putin and Zelensky hailed the Crown Prince’s successful mediation efforts. On Sept. 21, Riyadh announced that the Crown Prince helped facilitate the release of 10 prisoners from five countries in a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

    During a phone conversation the next day, Putin thanked the Crown Prince for his active and distinguished contribution to the success of the prisoner exchange. During the talk, the Crown Prince affirmed the Kingdom’s readiness to support all efforts aimed at reaching a political solution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

    On the same day, Zelensky also thanked the Crown Prince for his mediation, saying on Twitter: “Had a cordial conversation with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Thanked him for facilitating the release of foreign citizens, involvement in mediation and the leading role of Saudi Arabia in the region,” he said, adding “we discussed Ukraine’s energy security, post-war recovery and joint investment projects.”

    In a phone call on Monday, British Prime Minister Liz Truss thanked the Crown Prince for his successful role in the process of prisoner exchange related to Russia-Ukraine conflict and that resulted in the release of five British prisoners. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also thanked the Crown Prince for his role.

    Apart from world leaders, many key Saudi officials hailed the great diplomatic plus humanitarian initiative steered successfully by the Crown Prince. Commenting on the move on his Twitter account, Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman said that the successful transfer of 10 prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine, in a deal mediated by the Crown Prince, affirms his proactive role in bolstering humanitarian initiatives, and his support for all international efforts that seek to solve this crisis.

    On his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the Crown Prince’s successful mediation efforts to release POWs demonstrates the Kingdom’s commitment to global peace and security, and its belief in the importance of dialogue. “The Kingdom is grateful for the cooperation and goodwill showed by Ukraine and Russia toward the Crown Prince’s mediation efforts to secure the release of POWs from five nations. We believe that constructive dialogue is the best path forward to ending this conflict,” he said.

    The success of the Crown Prince’s mediation in the release of the prisoners confirms his keenness for the Kingdom to fulfill its humanitarian duty in addressing many similar issues, including — for example — its contribution to the release of many detainees held by the Houthi militia in Yemen.

    The Crown Prince attached great importance to making humanitarian efforts in addition to his political and diplomatic efforts with various countries within the framework of his keenness to achieve regional and international security, peace and stability.

    The mediation of the Crown Prince comes as a translation of his permanent affirmation to the parties involved in the conflict about his support for the efforts that lead to a political solution to the crisis. This also reaffirms his previous and ongoing efforts, contacts and positions in everything that contributes to the de-escalation of the crisis by giving priority to the diplomatic solution and the language of dialogue to end it, and the readiness to make mediation efforts between all parties to solve it politically.

    The Crown Prince’s enthusiasm to embark on such initiatives emanates from the great legacy and tradition of Saudi Arabia ever since its founding by King Abdul Aziz. From the very first day of its establishment, the Kingdom has made great efforts to peacefully resolve regional and international disputes and conflicts, in addition to making humanitarian interventions to release detainees, hostages and prisoners of war, as well as to provide relief to the affected people stuck in or displaced from conflict-ridden areas.

    The latest example of this is the Kingdom’s humanitarian initiative to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine by sending large humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and neighboring countries, and the extension of expired visas for visitors and tourists and Ukrainian residents in the Kingdom.

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