Saudi business rebuff Russia

Kingdom cancels meeting with Russian delegation

Saudi Arabia’s businessmen cancelled scheduled investment talks with a large Russian delegation over Moscow’s support of the regime in conflict-battered Syria, saying the decision would be very costly for the Russians.

The talks had been due to be held at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday but they did not take place.

“We have cancelled the meting as a clear message to Russia that its business sector would be the biggest loser in the Saudi, Arab and Islamic market because of their support of the Syrian regime,” Saad Al Ajlan, head of the commercial committee at the Chamber, told the Saudi Aleqtisadiah newspaper.

“This decision is more a human than a political or economic position…the talks could have opened vast business horizons for the Russians in Saudi Arabia as the delegation is large and comprises oil, gas, construction and other sectors.”

Newspapers said the cancellation followed a local public campaign through social networks demanding the boycott of the Russian delegation, which arrived in Saudi Arabia this week for talks on investment in the largest Arab economy and the world’s oil powerhouse.

“The decision was taken yesterday morning and it was conveyed through a letter to the Russian ambassador in Saudi Arabia,” said Humaid al Anzi, public relations director at the Riyadh Chamber.

“We had two options before taking that decision-either to receive the delegation and convey our resentment of their government’s position towards Syria or to cancel the meeting altogether…we took the second option.”