Gulf | Saudi Arabia

Saudi tycoon cancels Russia contracts

Decision reflects growing anger among Saudis with Moscow’s pro-Al Assad stance

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:04 July 28, 2012
  • Gulf News

Manama: A Saudi businessman has reportedly cancelled a series of contracts with more than 20 Russian companies in protest against Moscow’s support for the political regime in Syria.

The contracts, mainly in the oil and gas sectors, are worth millions of dollars, Mubarak Swaikat was quoted as saying.

However, the business tycoon said that he made his decision without any pressure and that he assumed his responsibilities, Kuwaiti news site Al Aan reported on Saturday.

“This is the least that I can do to support our brothers in Syria,” he said. “The Saudi government and society have already given a shining example of selflessness and donations to make their Syrian brethren happy and support them in their time of need,” he said, quoted by the site.

Riyadh last week launched a nationwide drive to raise funds for the Syrian people. The campaign, launched by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, has succeeded to raise millions of dollars donated by the monarch, the crown prince and people living in the Saudi kingdom.

In June, two Saudi trade bodies refused to receive a Russian delegation to protest Moscow’s support for the Syrian regime.

Saudi business officials said that the Russian non-official delegation that comprised seven businessmen was in Saudi Arabia to visit trade shows and asked their consulate in Jeddah to coordinate a visit to the chambers of commerce in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The delegation visited the Jeddah trade body where they were received by employees, but the Russians did not meet any Saudi businessman. Their meeting in Riyadh was cancelled amid highly critical social media reports and comments.

Abdul Rahman Al Jaraisi, the head of the chamber of commerce in Riyadh, said that the cancellation of the meeting with the Russian delegation was “an expression of compassion with the brotherly people of Syria and a protest against the Russian position on what is happening there.”

“We refused to meet because we wanted to convey the message from the Saudi business community and from Saudi Arabia that we have reservations about the unfair and unjust way they have been dealing with Syria,” he said.

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