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Saudi Arabia Criticizes Putin Over Letter To Arab Summit

Saudi Arabia has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of hypocrisy over Russia's role in the Syrian civil war.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was quoted as making the comment at an Arab League summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on March 29, after a letter from Putin was read out to the gathering.

Reuters news agency quoted Prince Saud as saying Putin should not express support for peaceful solutions and non-interference the Middle East while fuelling instability by supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and arming his government.

"He speaks about the problems in the Middle East as though Russia is not influencing these problems," he said.

In his letter, Putin said, "We support the Arabs' aspirations for a prosperous future and for the resolution of all the problems the Arab world faces through peaceful means, without any external interference."

Moscow has been a strong supporter of Assad, whom Riyadh opposes.

In comments published March 27 in Russia's official Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Assad said Syria would welcome an increased Russian military presence at Syrian ports, including at Tartus, where Russia maintains what it calls a naval supply point.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Al-Arabiya, and Sputnik