Vladimir Putin Welcomes Saudi King Salman And Deals At The Kremlin

By Michael Rones

King Salman became the first monarch of Saudi Arabia to visit Russia when he was welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in an elegant ceremony this week. The visit marked a number of agreements that included financial investment deals worth billions of dollars, arms purchases, and a commitment to attaining peace in the Middle East.

The visit and subsequent agreements is part of a recent warming of relations between the two countries. Russia and Saudi Arabia have a history of conflict that goes back to the 1980s Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia supported the mujahedeen resistance against the Soviet attack. The difference continues today as Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War while Saudi Arabia backs rebel fighters. While it seems like there has been no progress regarding their differences in Syria, they were able to have a friendly visit that focused on other areas of progress between the two countries.

Saudi Arabia and Russia announced a number of financial commitments that included a $1 billion dollar joint investment fund, commitments to coordinate and invest together in oil, and Saudi investment in Russian transportation infrastructure

The arms deal, which includes Saudi purchase of defensive weapons systems, comes about five months after President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia and committed to a $350 billion arms deal between the United Stated and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi purchase of weapons may be an indication of an attempt by Saudi Arabia to become slightly less dependent on the United States. However, the agreements between Saudi Arabia and Russia are a stronger indication that Russia is becoming a major player in the Middle East and a Saudi desire to move Russia away from Iran, which supports President Bashar al-Assad with Russia in Syria.

The oil agreement between the world’s two largest oil producers to cap oil production is an attempt by Russia and Saudi Arabia, which both countries’ economies depend heavily on the industry, to revitalize the price of oil. In fact, the price of oil jumped two percent following the announcement of the agreement.  For the Russians, the oil agreement with Saudi Arabia marks an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to improve the Russian economy while avoiding succumbing to the pressure of economic sanctions led by the United States and European nations.

With the verbal commitment to make peace and fight terror in the Middle East, an accepted invitation by President Putin to visit Saudi Arabia, and the unsolved issue of Syria, we can expect to see Saudi Arabia and Russia to continue to coordinate their economic and Middle East regional interests in the future.

 

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-saudi-terror/russia-saudi-arabia-cement-new-friendship-with-kings-visit-idUSKBN1CA1QU

http://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2017/10/saudi-king-putin-sign-deals-historic-russia-trip-171005102100641.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/world/middleeast/saudi-russia-middle-east.html?_r=0

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/trump-s-first-foreign-trip/donald-trump-lands-saudi-arabia-first-overseas-visit-presidency-n762126

Filed in: Featured content, International

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