'Moscow is awash this week with Middle East movers and shakers, apparently eager to have a word with Vladimir Putin ahead of his meeting with Trump. Is there a big ME deal in the making? RT talks to analysts.
Before having a face-off with his US counterpart in Helsinki next week, President Putin is to have several high-profile meetings in Russia. There is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Ali Akbar Velayati, the foreign policy aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be in Moscow in time to watch the World Cup finals on Sunday and is expected to meet Putin. Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, will also be among the spectators, although whether he would talk with Putin is yet to be confirmed.
Amid the flurry of visits there is some speculation in the media that a grand deal between the US and Russia, which would involve a rebalancing of power in the Middle East, may come out from the Helsinki talks and that regional players are making an 11th-hour bid to ensure that their interests would be taken into consideration.
Such a scenario is possible, but highly unlikely, because it would be inconsistent with Russia’s current policies in the Middle East, Grigory Lukyanov, a Middle East analyst and senior lecturer at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told RT.
“There are concerns in Damascus and Tehran that the course which Russia had in foreign policy over the past years, may take a shift similarly to how it happened in the past, when in pursuit of some global agreement with the US, Russia would sacrifice its Middle Eastern achievements and interests that it perceived secondary,” he said.'
Read more: Middle East officials flocking to Moscow – is there a big deal to be made before Putin meets Trump?