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Zelensky arrives in Jeddah for Arab League summit


May 19, 2023
Zelensky arrives in Jeddah for Arab League summit


JEDDAH — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Saudi Arabia to attend the Arab League summit, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Upon his arrival at King Abdulaziz International Airport, he was received by Prince Badr bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Makkah Region; Saleh bin Ali Al-Turki, Mayor of Jeddah Governorate; the Saudi Ambassador to Ukraine, Mohammad bin Suleiman Al-Jabreen, and a number of civil and military officials.

“I have arrived in Saudi Arabia,” Zelensky said on Telegram. “I will speak at the Arab League summit. I will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and hold other bilateral talks.”

“Our priorities are the return of all political prisoners of Crimea and the temporarily occupied territories, the return of all prisoners and illegally deported persons, the presentation of our peace formula, the implementation of which should involve as many states as possible, and the guarantee of energy security next winter,” he said.

“Another priority is to protect the Muslim community of Ukraine. Mustafa Dzhemilev, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, is with us. Crimea was the first to suffer from the Russian occupation, and most of those who are being repressed in occupied Crimea are Muslims.”

Arab states have remained largely neutral over Russia’s war on Ukraine, with many maintaining close ties to Moscow.

Saudi Arabia has maintained good relations with Russia and the two countries have cooperated on oil production cuts through Opec+, the Saudi-led oil producers’ alliance.

The Saudis have even offered to mediate between Ukraine and Russia following a prisoner exchange deal they brokered last year.

Saudi Arabia also pledged $400m in aid to Ukraine earlier this year and has voted in favor of United Nations resolutions calling on Russia to end its invasion and refrain from annexing Ukrainian territory.

The Ukrainian leader is expected to travel in person to Japan for the Group of Seven (G7) summit this weekend, as he tries to keep crucial support from allied nations flowing to Kyiv.

Officials have declined to say exactly when Zelensky would arrive in Hiroshima or detail his travel arrangements. He has been traveling outside his country more as the war grinds onward, including a tour of Europe last week. \begingroup SG


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