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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Vladimir Putin high-five at G20

Grinning from ear to ear, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged a hearty high-five and handshake at the G20 summit in Argentina.

The New York Post reports that the Saudi strongman and his Russian counterpart — who’ve each been accused of having political enemies assassinated — clasped hands, with Salman repeatedly patting Putin’s right hand with his left as they exchanged greetings and laughed.

Putin and Crown Prince high-five

media_cameraIn this still image obtained from an Argentina G20 video, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (C) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greet each other at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires as US President Donald Trump enters the room. Picture: AFP

At one point, Mr Trump can be seen walking behind the two leaders, paying them no attention.

Mr Trump had been scheduled for a sit-down with Mr Putin — but abruptly changed his mind on Thursday, ostensibly because he was angered at Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews.

Mr Trump was seen meeting with the Crown Prince, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and adviser and daughter, Ivanka Trump.

media_cameraSaudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman laughs with Russia President Vladimir Putin. Picture: AP

The president has also faced criticism for his continued defence of the crown prince in light of the CIA’s conclusion that he had ordered the murder of critic Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

British officials have accused Putin of ordering the assassination of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian agent living in the UK who survived the March attack, as did his daughter Julia, who was also poisoned.

media_cameraRussia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman joke. Picture: AFP

At the G20, Putin said that Mr Trump’s intention to opt out of a Cold War-era nuclear pact could trigger a new arms race.

He warned that Washington’s planned withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty “creates risks of uncontrollable arms race.”

The Russian leader also called for securing a nuclear deal with Iran despite the US withdrawal from it to “prevent a new round of tensions over the Iranian nuclear program.”

media_cameraDonald Trump with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Vladimir Putin. Picture: AFP

Meanwhile, bin Salman talked with world leaders as accusations swirled about the gruesome killing of Khashoggi, who was tortured before he died.

Journalists saw the crown prince speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron and others Friday in Buenos Aires.

media_cameraJamal Khashoggi with fiancee Hatice Cengiz. Picture: Supplied

Macron’s office wouldn’t comment on what they discussed.

On the eve of the summit, the French president called for international involvement in the investigations into Khashoggi’s killing last month.

The Saudis have denied that he had anything to do with the murder.

Jamal Khashoggi’s remains are believed to have been located at the Consul General as his son came face to face with the man believed to have ordered his murder.

Jamal Khashoggi murder planned by death squad

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is republished here with permission

Originally published as Saudi Crown Prince, Putin high-five

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