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Russia, Saudi Arabia seal key oil deal

Riyadh (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a key deal Monday with Saudi Arabia throughout a key go to for an OPEC+ grouping aimed toward stabilising world oil costs and searching for to calm regional tensions with Iran.

Putin’s go to follows assaults on Saudi oil installations that Saudi Arabia and the USA have blamed on Iran, an ally of Moscow.

Following talks between Putin and Saudi King Salman, the 2 nations signed some 20 agreements and contracts price billions of {dollars} on aerospace, tradition, well being, superior expertise and agriculture.

Key among the many offers was the settlement to bolster cooperation among the many so-called OPEC+ nations — the Group of the Petroleum Exporting Nations plus 10 non-members of the cartel.

Moscow shouldn’t be a member of OPEC, but it surely has labored intently with the group to restrict provide and push up costs after a 2014 droop that wreaked havoc on the economies of Russia and cartel heavyweight Saudi Arabia.

Monday’s deal seeks to “reinforce cooperation … and strengthen oil market stability”, Saudi Vitality Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman mentioned on the signing ceremony.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov advised reporters that Putin and Saudi officers additionally mentioned “military and technical cooperation”.

In October 2017, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding paving the way in which for Riyadh’s buy of Moscow’s highly effective S-400 anti-aircraft missile methods.

The sale by no means materialised, nonetheless, as Saudi Arabia ultimately opted to buy a US system.

– Position of ‘peacemaker’ –

On Monday, Putin mentioned “Russia attaches particular importance to the development of friendly, and mutually beneficial ties with Saudi Arabia”.

King Salman advised Putin: “We look forward to working with Your Excellency on everything that will bring security, stability and peace, confront extremism and terrorism and promote economic growth.”

Moscow and Riyadh, a standard US ally, have made a hanging rapprochement in recent times, marked specifically by King Salman’s first go to to Russia in October 2017.

A yr later, when Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was underneath fireplace over the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Putin went out of his option to shake his hand at a G20 summit, to a lot remark.

In an interview with Arabic-language tv channels forward of his go to, Putin praised his good relations with the Saudi royals.

“We will absolutely work with Saudi Arabia and our other partners and friends in the Arab world… to reduce to zero any attempt to destabilise the oil market,” he mentioned.

Russian political analyst Fyodor Lukyanov mentioned Moscow, with its older ties to Iran and new hyperlinks with Saudi Arabia, may “play the role of peacemaker” as tensions soar between Tehran and Riyadh.

These tensions spiked final month after the assaults on Saudi oil services that halved the dominion’s crude output and set oil markets alight.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed duty. However US officers blamed Tehran, charging that the rebels didn’t have the vary or sophistication to focus on the services.

Tehran has denied involvement and warned of “total war” within the occasion of any assault on its territory.

– Syria struggle –

Russia has sought to maintain a foot in each camps, providing missiles to Riyadh to defend itself, whereas on the identical time warning in opposition to “hasty conclusions” concerning Iran’s alleged involvement.

Final week, an Iranian tanker was hit in suspected missile strikes off the coast of Saudi Arabia, sparking recent fears of struggle.

Putin held talks with the crown prince late Monday do talk about “bilateral cooperation” and developments in Syria and Yemen.

Russia and Iran again Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whereas the Saudis help the opposition searching for his ouster.

However “it is important for Russia that an Arab country participates in the political settlement in Syria”, mentioned Lukyanov.

For now “only three non-Arab countries” — Turkey, Russia and Iran — are internet hosting talks, the analyst added.

After Saudi Arabia, Putin will journey to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to satisfy the highly effective crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

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