Russia’s largest economic forum, shunned by the West after the invasion of Ukraine, had a last-minute high-profile guest Friday – United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed.
While on a working visit to Russia, the UAE president briefly toured the country’s pavilion at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
Until Friday morning, most foreign officials listed to attend were largely at the ministerial level, representing countries that have played a neutral role in Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“I am pleased to be here today with you, your Excellency, and we wish to build on this relationship and we put our trust in you to do so,” Sheikh Mohammed told Putin.
Held in the city of Putin’s birth and upbringing, the SPIEF was once one of Russia’s main international summits. The event however has seen no attendance from Western nations since the Ukraine war and a prominent appearance risks drawing the ire of the US and Europe determined to isolate Russia in the international stage.
For the UAE, this is a “calculated risk” it is willing to take, part of the Gulf nation’s policy of de-escalation and dialogue in an increasingly polarized world, a top UAE official told CNN in exclusive comments on Thursday.
“This polarization has to be broken,” Anwar Gargash, the diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, said.
Source : Insider