Saudi Arabia has offered Russia a secret oil deal if Moscow abandons its support for the Syrian government of President Bashar al - Assad, reports say.
Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan reportedly made the offer during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier this month. The transcripts of the closed - door meeting between Putin and the Saudi Prince were first leaked to the Russian press. A detailed version has been issued by the Lebanese newspaperAs - Safir. Bandar offered a number of inducements to Putin, including safeguarding Russia’s gas contracts and its alliance with OPEC. Bandar also reportedly pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if President Assad is toppled. Reports also said that the Saudi Prince offered to buy up to USD 15 billion of Russian weapons. In return, Riyadh wants Moscow to lessen its support for the Syrian government and no longer block any United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on Syria. The Russian President, however, was unmoved by the Saudi offer. The revelations come amid high tension in the Middle East, with the US and its allies threatening Syria with a military action over allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. Hundreds of people were killed and scores of others injured in the attack. Both the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition accuse each other of being behind the deadly attack. The Damascus government, however, has vehemently denied the accusations, saying the chemical attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation. Meanwhile, military leaders from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada are meeting in Jordan to discuss Syria unrest. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, however, has warned that any intervention in Syria without a UN Security Council mandate would be a "grave violation of international law."