World

Russia's foreign minister hosts his Saudi counterpart for Syria-focused talks

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, enter a hall for  their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. The talks are part of a new Moscow attempt to help mediate the Syrian conflict. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, enter a hall for their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. The talks are part of a new Moscow attempt to help mediate the Syrian conflict. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, enter a hall for  their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. The talks are part of a new Moscow attempt to help mediate the Syrian conflict. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, enter a hall for their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. The talks are part of a new Moscow attempt to help mediate the Syrian conflict. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, right, and Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, shake hands after a news conference following their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015.  Pressing to mediate the Syrian conflict, Russia on Tuesday hosted the Saudi foreign minister for talks that revealed their sharp differences about the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

    Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, right, and Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, shake hands after a news conference following their meeting in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. Pressing to mediate the Syrian conflict, Russia on Tuesday hosted the Saudi foreign minister for talks that revealed their sharp differences about the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)  (The Associated Press)

Russia is hosting the Saudi foreign minister for Syria-focused talks, part of a new Moscow effort to mediate the conflict.

The talks Tuesday between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir follow their recent meeting in Doha that also involved U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Moscow has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, shielding his regime from U.N. sanctions and providing it with weapons throughout a civil war that has dragged on for more than four years. The conflict has left at least 250,000 dead and turned more than 4 million people into refugees.

While the Kremlin has shown no sign it could drop its support for Assad, its recent effort to engage the Saudis has reflected a shift in tactics.