Saudi Arabia's King Salman walks past Russian honour guards during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow, Russia October 4, 2017. MOSCOW (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Salman said at the start of talks in Moscow with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the territorial integrity of Iraq must be preserved. In opening remarks broadcast on Russian television, the king said a political solution to the conflict in Syria must be found that keeps that country in one piece. He also said the international community must take responsibility for what is happening to the Muslim Rohingya community in Myanmar. Not all U.S. presidents are missed once they leave the White House.
Just days before Syria talks start in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, former Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander, Mustafa al-Sheikh, visited Moscow and met Russian officials. Sheikh, a former general in the Syrian army, was the highest ranking officer to defect from the Assad regime forces in late 2011 and was head of FSA's supreme military council. Over the weekend, FSA members denounced the visit by Sheikh, saying it was not coordinated with them. "[His visit] caused a lot of anger within the FSA because he took an individual decision and this decision does not represent the FSA," FSA officer Hassan Hamada told Al Jazeera. On January 10, Russia's foreign ministry announced that Sheikh and a "group of Syrian opposition figures" had met Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to discuss the situation in Syria.
A top Iranian official is visiting Moscow as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria conflict. "This is very important for the national security of the state of Israel," Netanyahu told reporters at an airport in Tel Aviv before leaving for Moscow, according to an official transcript. Israel deeply resents Iran's presence in Syria, where Tehran has military presence along with Moscow, which intervened in the eight-year-old conflict in 2015. Israel considers the presence of Iranian-linked armed groups in Syria and neighbouring Lebanon as a security threat. Sites belonging to Iran and its regional ally, Hezbollah, have been bombed by the Israelis in recent years, with the latest attack carried out in May this year.
Amid a fierce war of words between Russia and the US and its allies, Moscow has said that a team of chemical experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will inspect the site of a suspected poison gas attack in Syria on Wednesday. The announcement came as Russia rejected US accusations of tampering with evidence in an investigation over the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government in Douma, near Damascus, on April 7. "Tomorrow [Tuesday] the security services of the United Nations … will test the routes. And on Wednesday is when we plan the arrival of the OPCW experts", a senior Russian official said in The Hague on Monday. Earlier, inspectors from the OPCW claimed to have been prevented by Syrian forces and their Russian backers from accessing the site earlier on Monday. "Russia and Syria have not yet allowed access to Douma," the British delegation said in a tweet on Sunday before adding that "unfettered access [is] essential."