Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a state visit to Saudi Arabia on October 14, where he will hold talks with King Salman bin Abdel-Aziz Al Saud. In addition, the Russian leader will meet with the Crown Prince of the Kingdom, Muhammad bin Salman Al Saud.
According to the Kremlin, the parties will discuss cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, as well as the situation in the Middle East. Following the meeting, it is planned to sign a number of agreements. Analysts believe that the leaders of the two countries can also touch on the supply of Riyadh Russian S-300 and S-400 air defense systems. Experts did not rule out that the restoration of Syria, relations with Iran and interaction in the oil and gas industry will be on the agenda of the negotiations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a state visit to Saudi Arabia on October 14, according to the Kremlin’s official website.
“At the talks with King Salman bin Abdel-Aziz Al Saud, it is planned to consider the state and prospects for the development of multifaceted Russian-Saudi cooperation, including in the trade, economic and investment spheres”, – the Press Service of the Russian leader said in a statement.
It is indicated that the heads of the two countries will exchange views on pressing topics of the international agenda, “primarily on the situation in the region of the Middle East and North Africa”.
It is also planned that the parties will sign a number of joint interagency and commercial agreements.
In addition, Vladimir Putin will hold a separate meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and will attend the inaugural meeting of the Russian-Saudi Economic Council.
Earlier, Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said that the leaders of the two countries will discuss the situation in Syria, the Persian Gulf region, Yemen, and also talk about a Palestinian-Israeli settlement.
The Russian leader himself in an interview with RT Arabic, Sky News Arabia and Al Arabiya said that his visit to Saudi Arabia is a return.
“As for the visit to Saudi Arabia, we attach great importance to this. This is in a sense a return visit – after the visit of the King of Saudi Arabia, the Guardian of two shrines to Russia. It was the first historical visit, in fact”, – Putin emphasized.
According to the President of Russia, “in recent years, the quality of relations” between Moscow and Riyadh has “radically changed”.
“We see Saudi Arabia as our friendly state”, – the Russian leader said.
Vladimir Putin also added that he had “very good relations with both the king and the crown prince”.
Putin will go to the SA for the first time in 12 years after his visit to Riyadh in 2007.
“A breach in the defense system”
According to analysts, one of the key issues of the upcoming talks will be the situation in the Persian Gulf.
The situation in the region escalated after the September 14 Saudi Aramco refineries in eastern Saudi Arabia were attacked by drones. The responsibility for what happened was claimed by the Hussite Yemeni rebels. The Arab coalition fighting in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia and the United States, blamed Iran for the attack.
Vladimir Putin, in an interview with RT Arabic, Al Arabiya and Sky Nеws Arabia, once again stated that Russia condemns such actions, but noted that the culprit of the attack can be identified only after a thorough investigation. At the same time, the Russian leader emphasized that Moscow will work with Riyadh to nullify attempts to destabilize the situation in the energy market.
In September, Putin proposed that the kingdom purchase Russian S-300 or S-400 air defense systems to ensure the security of its territory. The president of Russia came up with such an initiative after it became known that American missile defense systems, which are in service with Saudi Arabia, could not prevent attacks on Saudi Aramco targets.
“We are ready to provide appropriate assistance to Saudi Arabia, and it is enough for the political leadership of Saudi Arabia to make a wise state decision – just as the Iranian leaders did in their time by purchasing the S-300, and as President Erdogan did, by purchasing the latest air defense systems from Russia S-400 Triumph”, – Putin said.
Analysts do not exclude that Moscow may hear an answer from Riyadh at the upcoming meeting.
“It is possible that there will be some progress regarding the procurement of S-300 and S-400 by Saudi Arabia. Earlier, the Saudis were sure that the United States would guarantee them security, but after a missile attack on oil refining facilities in Riyadh, it became clear that they had a serious breach in the defense system”, – an expert from the Institute of the Middle East Sergey Balmasov said in a conversation with RT.
According to the analyst, Moscow will “make a serious attempt” to agree with the Saudi side on the supply of Russian air defense systems.
“It is possible that Riyadh will agree to Putin’s proposal, since the aggravated situation in the Persian Gulf makes them think intensely about their security”, – Balmasov explained.
A similar opinion is shared by Araik Stepanyan, member of the Presidium of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems.
“After the attacks on Saudi oil and gas facilities, Riyadh realized the need to cooperate in the arms industry with Russia, since the United States could not guarantee the security of the Kingdom”, – the expert said in an interview with RT.
Stepanyan also suggested that the leaders of the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia will discuss the mediating role of Russia in the conflict between Iran and the kingdom.
“Moscow can act as a world arbiter in the conflict of these two countries. Moreover, neither Tehran nor Riyadh is now profitable to bring the situation to an armed conflict, as all parties will suffer as a result”, – the analyst noted.
“Bankruptcy of the US policy”
In anticipation of a meeting with the Saudi king, Vladimir Putin, in an interview with RT Arabic, Sky News and Al Arabiya, said that all countries that are illegitimate in the Syrian Arab Republic should leave its territory. The Russian president said that “this applies to all states in general”.
“If the future leadership, the legitimate leadership of Syria says that it no longer needs the presence of the Russian armed forces, this also applies to the Russian Federation, of course”, – he added.
The head of state emphasized that Moscow is absolutely openly discussing this issue with all its partners.
Recall that earlier, Vladimir Putin called on Iran and Saudi Arabia not to use Syrian territory as a platform for confrontation.
As noted by Sergey Balmasov, measures to restore the ATS can be discussed at the meeting.
“In particular, we can talk about injecting Saudi capital into the Arab Republic, and Russia is interested in the Syrian economy recovering as soon as possible”, – the expert said.
Saudi Arabia is ready to discuss Syrian issues with Russia, since “it has realized the bankruptcy of US policy in the Middle East, built on chaos and inciting Shiites against Sunnis”, Araik Stepanyan believes.
“Riyadh has lost confidence in Washington in this matter”, – the expert emphasized.
Stepanyan also said that the parties are very likely to discuss the situation around the Yemen conflict.
“Saudi Arabia has already realized that the war in Yemen has dragged on and brings her only losses, the kingdom is losing its position. And Russia could act as a regulator in this conflict”, – said the analyst.
Moscow and Riyadh can also talk about the mediating role of Russia in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, Stepanyan said.
“This topic became especially relevant after the United States ceased to be neutral with respect to the conflict, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Washington is engaged in this matter, and Saudi Arabia understands this, and therefore intends to discuss this issue with the Russian Federation, ”the expert explained.
Mutually beneficial cooperation
Russia and Saudi Arabia will continue their partnership in the energy sector because of the similar interests of the countries, spokesman for the Russian leader Dmitry Peskov said in early October. According to him, there is “the political will of the leadership of the two countries”.
At the same time, in an official statement of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, it is noted that during the visit of Vladimir Putin to Riyadh, the organization will conclude more than ten “important agreements with both existing and new RDIF partners” in Saudi Arabia, including in the field of oil production and petrochemistry, infrastructure construction, high-tech (including the development of artificial intelligence), space, logistics and transport, as well as agriculture. According to the fund, the total investment will be more than $ 2 billion.
According to Balmasov, the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia will discuss in the upcoming talks primarily issues of oil production and the impact of Saudi Arabia on the black gold market.
“Russia will try to agree with Riyadh on oil prices that would meet the expectations of the Russian side. The Russian Federation and the CA, being leaders among world oil exporters, can decide bilaterally how to build the oil market”, – the expert emphasized.
Balmasov believes that Russia would benefit from Riyadh’s investment in oil and gas facilities on its territory.
“This would be a serious gesture towards the further development of relations between the two countries”, – the analyst said.
At the same time, Balmasov does not exclude the possibility that the summit will focus on the development of railway communication in Saudi Arabia, as the parties spoke about at the last meeting in Moscow, as well as on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.
“The construction of a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia is a long-term project. If Russia builds this facility, then the countries will come closer even closer”, – the expert said.
Araik Stepanyan believes that the parties may decide to build liquefied natural gas plants on Russian territory.
Stepanyan also pointed out that the signing of an agreement in the field of high technologies, including in the field of the development of artificial intelligence, planned within the framework of the meeting, is a victory for the Russian IT industry.
“Since, in addition to the Russian Federation, China, the USA and Europe also present their products on this market. At the same time, Saudi Arabia wants to have the most effective technologies at competitive prices”, – the expert said.
Stepanyan emphasized that it is important for Riyadh to cooperate with the Russian Federation, since the kingdom realized that Russia plays one of the leading roles in the world.
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“Contrary to the policies of Washington and Brussels, Moscow can defend its position and guarantee the fulfillment of its promises, unlike the United States, which do not keep their word”, – the analyst concluded.