Putin Tours Middle East for Clout and Crude

  • After his trip to Saudi Arabia, Putin is expected to visit the United Arab Emirates.
  • Talks will focus on oil production and tensions between regional powers.
  • Saudi Arabia and Russia are both attempting to improve ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Saudi Arabia Monday to meet with Saudi leaders.  Putin also held talks with King Salman, as well as with Saudi Arabia over Iran and Syria. The leaders’ talks focused on the issue of oil production and the price of the product in world markets. Political analysts believe that tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as Turkey’s progress in Syria, are among the issues to be discussed at the summit of the leaders of the two countries.

Russia–Saudi Arabia relations is the bilateral relationship between Russia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The two countries are referred to as the two petroleum superpowers and account for about a quarter of the world’s crude oil production between them.

AFP reported on Vladimir Putin’s visit to Riyadh on Monday. After that, Putin is scheduled to continue his trip to the United Arab Emirates. In Abu Dhabi, Putin is said to be in talks with Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, on regional issues as well as on oil. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have intensified following the attack on the Aramco oilfields as well as the recent attack on an Iranian tanker 7 miles from Jeddah.

Russian-Saudi relations

Saudi Arabia has historically been one of the US’ allies in the region. AFP continued its report, citing a change in the leadership’s attitude towards Russia. King Salman’s trip to Moscow in October 2017 illustrates the country’s efforts to get closer to Russia while maintaining its relations with the United States.

A year later, under pressure from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, in connection with the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, Putin came to him and shook hands with him at the G-8 summit. The move is seen by analysts and political commentators as Russia’s attempt to expand relations between the two countries.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, colloquially known by his initials as MBZ, is the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces. Like his Saudi counterpart, Mohammad bin Salman, MBZ is seen as the de facto ruler of the UAE.

Prior to traveling to Riyadh, Putin had spoken to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman in an interview with an Arab television broadcaster. “If anyone believes that acts such as the seizing of tankers or strikes against oil infrastructure could in any way affect the cooperation between Russia and our Arab friends… they are very wrong,” Putin said in the interview. He added,  “we will absolutely work with Saudi Arabia and our other partners and friends in the Arab world… to reduce to zero any attempt to destabilize the oil market.”

Political analyst Fyodor Lukyanov has said that in view of Russia’s relationship with Iran, Putin seems likely to try to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia during his meeting with Saudi leaders. One of the things that have fueled tensions between the two countries is the Yemeni civil war. By selling missiles to Saudi Arabia and boosting its defensive capability, Russia is seeking to expand its footing on both sides of the regional conflict. Yuri Yashakov, a Kremlin political adviser, has said that Syria and the Turkish military’s invasion of the north will also be among the issues discussed at the talks between the two leaders.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.

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