Russian Federation to play Middle East mediator during King Salman's visit

05 October, 2017, 00:58 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • REUTERS  David McNew

Saudi Arabia's King Salman arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, the first official visit to Russian Federation by a ruler of the Sunni state.

The two leaders will discuss bilateral relations and means to boost cooperation in various fields, in addition to reviewing regional as well as global issues of mutual interest.

Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on a press call that the two countries would seek areas of synergy between Russia and Saudi Arabia and aim to exploit their "unique technologies". "The fact that he's visiting Moscow - marking the first ever visit of a ruling sovereign of Saudi Arabia to Russian Federation - just underlines how much the relationship between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia has changed over the last few years and more so in the as 12 months", he told CNBC.

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Oil prices, which slumped in the past three years, have climbed to about $56 a barrel but are still around half the level they were in mid-2014.

"Experts say this visit is bigger than a mere protocol event already now and it should bring practical results since we stand in need of a discussion of many problems".

The forum will serve as a strategic platform for Saudi Aramco to promote its initiatives in supporting Saudi Vision 2030, and the industrial localization program In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) which can potentially attract Russian market-leading companies to offer skills development and technological expertise.

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Vehicle makers including Nissan, Chevrolet and Ford have rushed to congratulate Saudi women, as millions of women are expected to hit the road in the kingdom in coming years.

The two countries led the agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to cut crude production till the end of March 2018.

The Kremlin said ahead of the visit that Salman and Putin will discuss "the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, especially focusing conflict situations in the region".

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In September, Saudi Arabia hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first official visit in years.

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