April 26, 2018

Don't expect Vladimir Putin to give up newfound role as OPEC's 'co-pilot'

09 October 2017, 12:31 | Simon Arnold

Don't expect Vladimir Putin to give up newfound role as OPEC's 'co-pilot'

Don't expect Vladimir Putin to give up newfound role as OPEC's 'co-pilot'

Saudi King Salman is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Photos show Putin personally pour a cup of tea for his royal guest at the Kremlin Palace.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for an opulent historic visit that included an entourage of 1,500 people, a golden-plated escalator and his own luxury carpets.

In the framework of boosting the Saudi military capabilities and rehabilitating them with the strongest and latest weapons produced by the world's major countries, military agreements were signed between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation during King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's visit to Moscow.

On defense, Saudi Arabia said it had signed a memorandum of understanding on the purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia's state arms exporter.

He added that consultation between the Kingdom and Russian Federation is continuing and is considered constructive in all fields and that "we are confident that the two countries would contribute to bringing about security, peace and stability to the region and the world at large".

"Relations between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia have reached a historical moment", said Jubeir, speaking through an interpreter.

Ties between the two countries were often strained in the past.

While Russia has said Kurds have the "right" to declare independence, Iran has joined Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria in opposing Kurdistan's efforts to become a sovereign nation.

The $3bn weapon deal with Moscow came at a time, when USA government has also approved the possible sale of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) worth $15bn to Saudi Arabia.

On Friday, Russia and Saudi Arabia struck a slew of deals, including contracts for Russian weapons.

Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Saudi Arabia was "flexible" regarding Moscow's suggestion to extend the pact until the end of next year. "The falling of the oil prices has been stopped, due to the efforts of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia and relations between Russian Federation and OPEC".

Saudi-U.S. ties were strained under the Obama administration over its backing of a nuclear agreement with Iran and its handling of the Syrian conflict.

King Salman and President Putin on Thursday signed a slew of arms and energy deals as the key United States ally seeks to deepen cooperation with Moscow. Relations improved under the Trump administration, but Washington's focus in Syria continues to be on fighting the Islamic State group, not on ousting Assad. The companies plan to evaluate the potential of the petrochemical markets of both countries and consider the possibility of expanding cooperation, Sibur said in a statement.

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