Saudi king, Putin eye energy, arms deals on landmark Russia visit

Saudi king to make historic visit to Russia

Saudi King Salman is now in Russian Federation as part of a state visit, the first to Moscow by a reigning Saudi monarch.

Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia will continue to work on stabilising world oil markets, King Salman told Putin on Thursday.

The oil giant's meeting of se two former opponents is a precursor to restructuring of global power relations.

The dramatic improvement in relations between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia comes even though both countries support different sides in the six-year war in Syria.

"Minister of energy, industry and mineral resources of Saudi Arabia has already been to Moscow and St. Petersburg several times, he already had talks with around ten leading Russian energy companies and they already have certain developments, projects, plans for cooperation", he said.

Putin said the agreement to cut oil production past year between OPEC and non-OPEC countries could be extended beyond March 2018 but an announcement was unlikely before the next OPEC meeting in Vienna at the end of November.

Putin and King Selman are also expected to establish an investment fund of about $1 billion to support energy projects. "What we've done at Opec serves the entire global economy well", Putin told an energy forum in Moscow, suggesting the deal could be extended again.

"Is there anything in the world that stays unchanged?"




"The ongoing change in Russia's energy balance will reduce domestic oil consumption, and the methods for coal use will become more environmentally friendly", Putin said. Despite regional disagreements, the two major oil-producing nations found common ground on energy policy in November, when they led a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC states to cut production in a bid to shore up crude prices.

Saudi-U.S. ties grew strained under the Obama administration over its backing of a nuclear agreement with Iran and its cautious stance on the Syrian conflict.

"The fact that you can argue that the U.S. influence in the region is receding and Russia's is increasing, and in the last few months we have seen a good number of Middle Eastern leaders including those of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, all coming to Moscow essentially hedging their bets and realising that Russian Federation is an emerging power and the USA perhaps a declining one".

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz is on a four-day state visit to Russian Federation along with his entourage of 1,500 people, a golden escalator and his own carpets, a person familiar with the matter said.

Still, Russia doesn't have the capacity to replace the U.S. as Saudi Arabia's main ally, Anna Borshchevskaya, a fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Associated Press.

According to Russia's foreign ministry, acting US mission head Anthony Godfrey was handed a "note of protest over the intention of the American authorities to conduct a search". But on Syria, the two countries remain divided with Washington's focus on fighting ISIS the Islamic State group, not on ousting Assad.

Putin also insisted that Iran is complying with a nuclear agreement the U.S., Russian Federation and other world powers agreed to in 2015 - Trump may decertify the Iran deal - and warned that Trump's fiery rhetoric toward North Korea is leading to a "very risky end".

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