Russia not interfering in Saudi Arabia's internal affairs

Russia is not interfering in Saudi Arabia's internal affairs, but expresses concern about human rights abuses in that country, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"I think it [the statement on this problem] is worded in tactful tones and is not at all aimed at interference in anyone's internal affairs, especially the internal affairs of Saudi Arabia," he said at a press conference in Moscow on Monday. Russia and Saudi Arabia have disagreements on some issues, including on Syria, "but this does not mean the rest should be painted in negative colors," he said. In accordance with the generally accepted international practice, the expression of concern about human rights issues is not an instance of interference in a state's internal affairs, Lavrov said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's commissioner for human rights, democracy and rule of law, Konstantin Dolgov, earlier said Moscow hopes that the Saudi authorities would work to restore stability in the eastern regions and prevent religious conflicts.

Clashes erupted in the east of Saudi Arabia last week between police and demonstrators who were protesting curbs on the Shiites' rights . Twenty people were injured. Some sources claimed two were killed. The Saudi Arabian government expressed surprise over this commentary by a Russian Foreign Ministry representative. The country's foreign ministry said that the Saudi authorities were much surprised to learn about the commentaries made by the Russian Foreign Ministry's commissioner for human rights, which demonstrated a flagrant and unjustified instance of interference in Saudi Arabia's internal affairs.

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