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At G20, Saudi Arabia Announces Readiness to Work with Trump | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (2ndR). Bonn, Germany February 16, 2017. © Brendan Smialowski / Reuters

Cologne – Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Thursday he was looking forward to working with the new U.S. Administration adding that he was optimistic about overcoming “the many challenges” in the Middle East.

In comments to Reuters on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers meeting, held in Bonn, Germany, Jubeir said: “We are very, very optimistic about our ability to overcome the many challenges we face in the region.”

Asked if he was concerned that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration was backing away from a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jubeir said: “We look forward to working with the Trump administration on all issues in the region.”

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, sources from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office said that Saudi Arabia was assuming a leading role, among Arab countries, in establishing security and stability in the region.

The sources added that Riyadh was a main partner in fighting terrorism.

The Saudi foreign minister met with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the sidelines of the meeting in Bonn.

Both officials reviewed bilateral relations and latest developments on the regional scene, including the situation in Syria and Yemen.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that his country did not interfere in other countries’ interior affairs.

Lavrov’s remarks came at the start of his first meeting with Tillerson.

Reporters asked Lavrov to comment on the turmoil at the White House, where President Donald Trump discharged a top aide this week over his contacts with Russian officials.

“You should know we do not interfere in the domestic matters of other countries,” Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign affairs minister said the two countries had “plenty of issues” to discuss, many of which had already been raised during a telephone conversation between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Jan. 28.

“I believe that we can discuss and establish the parameters of our future work,” Lavrov said.

For his part, Tillerson said that the United States was ready to work with Russia if it found common areas for cooperation, adding that Moscow has to abide by its commitments made over Ukraine.

“As we search for new common ground we expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate violence in Ukraine,” Tillerson said.

He added that he had a productive meeting with Lavrov and the two men discussed a range of issues of mutual concern. He answered no questions from the reporters.