Tue 28 February 2023:
Saudi Arabia signed an agreement and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ukraine, providing the war-torn country with $400 million in humanitarian aid during a high-level delegation’s visit to Kyiv, the Saudi foreign ministry said on Sunday.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan led the Kingdom’s delegation and was received by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the presidential residence in Kyiv.
The FM also met with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and the head of the Ukrainian president’s office Andriy Yermak. The Saudi top diplomat discussed opportunities to enhance bilateral cooperation in a wide range of fields, in addition to reviewing regional and international developments of common concern, the Saudi foreign ministry said.
The Kingdom’s diplomatic efforts aimed at peacefully resolving the Ukrainian crisis through a political solution, and aspects of Saudi assistance provided to Ukraine and its people to help mitigate the social and economic adverse repercussions of the war.
The agreement signed is a $100 million joint cooperation program to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, state news agency SPA reported.
The MoU pledged that the Saudi Fund for Development will finance Ukraine’s oil derivatives worth $300 million and was signed by the fund’s chief executive Sultan Abdulrahman al-Marshad.
The aid package was first announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last October, after his phone call with Ukrainian President. The Crown Prince had expressed the Kingdom’s support of de-escalation efforts and readiness to continue mediation efforts to resolve the conflict.
Since the onset of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Saudi Arabia has maintained a neutral stance. It called for de-escalation, offered support to Kyiv while maintaining the status quo of its relationship with fellow OPEC+ member Moscow, and expressed its willingness to mediate between the conflict parties to reach a peaceful resolution.
At the end of last year, Saudi Arabia voted in favor of a UN resolution which condemned the Russian moves to annex Ukrainian territory; a decision Kyiv lauded and interpreted as Riyadh supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine. In addition, the Saudi Crown Prince had a pivotal role in mediating the release of 10 prisoners of war (POW) of various nationalities, as part of an exchange of POWs between Russia and Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Crown Prince has stayed in regular contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss cooperation within OPEC+ (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia). The two leaders focused on maintaining the stability of the oil market in light of the impact of Russian-Ukrainian war developments, such as Western sanctions on Moscow’s oil industry and the introduction of price caps on Russian products.
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