After securing the release of five British hostages, Saudi Arabia‘s controversial Crown Prince is setting his sights on a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
Last night, Saudi sources said the Crown Prince was determined to bring the conflict to an end because it was proving so ‘destabilising’.
A well-placed source said: ‘We have the luxury of not having to be seen to be doing something. So we can work on achieving an outcome quietly, until it comes to fruition.
Saudi sources say the Crown Prince is determined to bring the conflict to an end because it was proving so ‘destabilising’
It comes after Saudi Arabia helped negotiate a prisoner swap deal which saw the release of five British captives
The Saudi Crown Prince is considering trying to negotiate a piece between Russia, led by Putin (right) and Ukraine, led by President Zelensky (left)
‘The Crown Prince managed to do this [the hostage release] very quietly. It was successful because nobody appeared to be losing face.
‘Putin wanted to demonstrate what could be achieved by having quiet conversations with him, rather than hectoring. He was sending a message.
‘I think he wants a deal to end the war. And hopefully the process we have started can bring the whole war to an end.’
Saudi Arabia has emerged as a significant intermediary between Russia and Ukraine after attempts by Turkey to bring both sides to the negotiating table failed.
China has also been reluctant to get involved in the conflict, much to the disappointment of Putin.
The source said: ‘The world is in chaos and that is not good for us. None of this is good for Saudi Arabia or good for anyone.
‘The aim is to end the conflict. We are not on anyone’s side, we are on the side of stability.’
By seeking to bring peace, bin Salman may also be seeking to restore his reputation.
In 2018 the Crown Prince, who was initially praised as a reformist, became a pariah on the world stage.
This was following the murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents, including members of the MBS inner circle, at the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
At first the Crown Prince denied any knowledge of Mr Khashoggi’s fate, claiming ‘we have nothing to hide’.
He was later forced to deny he had personally ordered the killing of Mr Khashoggi, whose body was dismembered and his remains were never recovered.
The Crown Prince eventually blamed a ‘rogue operation’ by agents acting independently from his regime for the death.
In 2019 five Saudi officials were sentenced to death in the Gulf state for participating in Mr Khashoggi’s murder. Three others received lengthy prison sentences.
They had arrived in Istanbul just days before Mr Khashoggi’s death and were aware he was intending to visit the consulate.