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UAE and Saudi Arabia instrumental in prisoner exchange between US and Russia
The governments of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia confirmed on Thursday a joint role in facilitating the prisoner exchange between the United States and Russia, leading to the release of US basketball star Brittney Griner after nearly nine months in detention.  Griner, 32, who was arrested in Russia in February on drug charges, and Viktor Bout, 55, who was serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison, were exchanged at an airport in Abu Dhabi. In a statement, the UAE and Saudi foreign affairs ministries said the mediation was led by UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed and Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman.  "The success of the mediation efforts was a reflection of the mutual and solid friendship between their two countries and the United States of America and the Russian Federation," the statement read.  The statement confirmed that following her release by Russia, Abu Dhabi received on Thursday Griner by private plane from Moscow. Another plane arrived from the United States to the UAE carrying Russian citizen Victor Bout, an arms dealer convicted in the United States. Officials from the UAE and Saudi Arabia were present at the airbase. The source confirmed that Abu Dhabi and Riyadh facilitated the "details of the exchange," but stressed that the negotiations on the release were strictly handled by Moscow and Washington. US President Joe Biden thanked the UAE on Thursday for helping Griner return home from Russia.  “I also want to the thank the UAE for helping us facilitate Brittney’s return, cause that’s where she landed,” the US president said. 
dennis2020 Fri, 12/09/2022 - 06:19 Xi in Saudi Arabia as China woos Gulf Arabs
China's president Xi Jinping on Wednesday (7 December) starts a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia where he will meet Saudi and other Arab leaders in a series of summits. Three summits will take place during his trip: the Saudi-Chinese Summit, the Riyadh Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development. The participants will include more than 30 leaders and officials, highlighting the importance of the gatherings and their high regional and international profile, the Saudi Press Agency reported. Xi’s visit reflects the desire of the leaderships of Saudi Arabia and China to strengthen the bilateral relationship, enhance their strategic partnership and realize the political and economic potential it offers to serve their common interests, the SPA added. Reporting the visit, the New York Times said the trip sends a message that Beijing’s clout in the region is growing at a time when U.S. officials say that they want to make the Middle East less of a priority, focusing diplomatic and military resources on Asia and Europe.
dennis2020 Wed, 12/07/2022 - 05:30

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Monday Commentary: The world is on a military spending spree

Monday Commentary: The world is on a military spending spree

It is easy to succumb to the pressures of the arms lobby and to rush into a military spending spree without understanding that there are still alternatives to this, and that these alternatives have not yet been exhausted, argues Dennis Sammut in this week's Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu
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Editor's choice
Commentary
Monday Commentary: The world is on a military spending spree

Monday Commentary: The world is on a military spending spree

It is easy to succumb to the pressures of the arms lobby and to rush into a military spending spree without understanding that there are still alternatives to this, and that these alternatives have not yet been exhausted, argues Dennis Sammut in this week's Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu