Oil, Arms and Nuclear Energy: Overview of Saudi King's Landmark Visit to Russia

from Sputnik News:

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s talks in Moscow have resulted in a number of political, economic and military deals. Moscow and Riyadh are eyeing cooperation in the oil market, on nuclear energy, space exploration and infrastructure. Riyadh for its part is also reportedly interested in Russia’s S-400 missile defense systems.

Towards a Stable Relationship

King Salman arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, for the first ever visit of a reigning Saudi monarch to Russia.

"This is the first visit of the King of Saudi Arabia to Russia in the history of our relations, which in itself is a very significant event. Our relations have a fairly lengthy history," Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with the king.

In addition, the Russian president described the talks with King Salman as "very substantive, informative and very trusting."

According to Grigoriy Kosach, Moscow-based professor and specialist in modern Eastern studies, Russian-Saudi relations have seen numerous upturns and downturns and this visit gives hope that they will stabilize and continue to develop.

"The visit of the Saudi delegation to Moscow indicates that Riyadh is interested in developing ties with Moscow. Saudi Arabia needs Russia," Leonid Savin, an analyst with the Center for Geopolitical Expert Studies, told RT.

Syrian Problem

According to the expert, the Syrian crisis was the key political issue on the agenda of the talks. Riyadh has supported Syrian opposition groups in the ongoing conflict; however King Salman said that his vision of the Syrian settlement coincides with the position of Moscow.

During his meeting with Putin, the Saudi monarch stressed that Riyadh intends to achieve the resolution of the Syrian crisis in accordance with the Geneva decisions and UN Security Council resolutions.

 

"As far as the Syrian crisis is concerned, we seek its termination in accordance with the Geneva-1 decisions and UN Security Council Resolution 2254. [We want] to reach a political settlement that would guarantee security, stability and Syria’s territorial integrity," King Salman said.

According to Kosach, differences between Moscow and Riyadh on the situation in Syria remain. First and foremost this regards Russia’s cooperation with Iran, which is of great concern to Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Savin pointed out that Riyadh’s support for the Astana negotiating process indicates a bilateral rapprochement on the issue.

Political Cooperation

The political agenda of the talks also included the situation in Qatar, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, the Israeli-Palestine settlement as well as the state of affairs in the Middle East as a whole, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.

Lavrov and his Saudi counterpart Adel Jubeir reiterated their commitment to dialogue in the resolution of those problems.

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