Saudi visit showcases Putin’s growing Middle East influence

Saudi visit showcases Putin’s growing Middle East influence

Saudi visit showcases Putin’s growing Middle East influence

Notably, Russia maintains relations in all those cities, even as it works with rivals in Tehran, Damascus and Ankara, and faces USA sanctions.

"Of all the Gulf countries, we [Russia and UAE] have the highest level of trade, US$1.7 billion, but of course, this is not enough, we are well aware of that, so now, we are working with the UAE's sovereign fund [Mubadala]", he added in an interview with Al Arabiya, Sky News Arabia and RT Arabic.

Putin's trip to Saudi Arabia and the UAE marks his first state visits to the countries since 2007. Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russian Federation to meet with Putin last month, just days before a bitterly contested election.

Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia will sign more than $2 billion of deals and discuss the OPEC+ oil output agreement, according to a senior official. Saudi Arabia also remains anxious about Iran. While speaking to Arab-language media Sunday, Putin said Russian Federation has repeatedly called for a normalization in bilateral ties with the U.S.

A crippling attack on key Saudi oil facilities last month raised new questions about Saudi Arabia's ability to protect itself, even with its expensive relationship with the United States and the masses of USA -made weapons it buys. Saudi Arabia likely wants to talk about ongoing tensions gripping the wider Middle East, where the kingdom is locked in a standoff with its archrival Iran and Turkey's military campaign in Syria has launched an added crisis.

On Syria, where Russian Federation and Iran have been key allies of President Bashar al-Assad in an 8-1/2-year civil war, Putin said any new constitution that is drawn up should guarantee the rights of all ethnic and religions groups. Since an intervention in 2015, Russian Federation has been allied with Assad, providing air power and other support in an often brutal conflict.

The sale never materialised, however, as Saudi Arabia eventually opted to purchase a USA system.

In meetings with Saudi leaders, the Russian president will discuss the OPEC+ pact, which has seen production cut by 1.2 million barrels per day since January.

The Russian leader went on to say an improvement in Russian-American relation has not happened yet due to domestic USA politics. "The missile program is one thing and the nuclear program is another thing", he said.

In an interview with Arabic-language television channels ahead of his visit, Putin praised his good relations with the Saudi royals.

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