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Saudi King slams Iran on historic visit to Russian Federation

07 October 2017

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Moscow would support new countries joining the agreement to restrict oil supply.

King Salman is expected to ask Russia's support and commitment to ensure that the production cuts deal continues, following Saudi Arabia's cut of its output to around 10 million barrels per day to help control a glut in world oil supplies. During Cold War times, the Saudis helped arm Afghan rebels fighting against the Soviet invasion.

"The leaders will consider joint steps to further develop bilateral cooperation in the trade, economic, investment and cultural-humanitarian areas", revealed the Kremlin, according to CNBC, which noted that "in addition, worldwide issues including conflicts in the Middle East are expected to form part of the discussions between Putin and the Saudi ruler". Among the billion-dollar deals, the two leaders signed or agreed on, the one getting the most headlines has nothing to do with oil.

He further emphasized the importance of preserving the unity of Iraq and the integrity of its internal front.

As many as 100 Saudi businessmen are accompanying King Salman on his trip to Moscow.

A Russian energy source said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was expected to be signed between Novatek and Saudi Arabia on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, known as Arctic LNG-2, that aims to start up in the 2020s.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told journalists that "relations between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia have reached a historic moment".

Putin has said that Moscow is aware of Iran's and Saudi Arabia's concerns over the settlement in Syria and is determined to seek compromise.

Shiite powerhouse Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia are regional foes.

Putin said the agreement to cut oil production past year between OPEC and non-OPEC countries could be extended beyond March 2018 but an announcement was unlikely before the next OPEC meeting in Vienna at the end of November.

"A number of Gulf leaders have been going with greater regularity to Moscow and I think for a simple reason: Russian Federation has made itself much more of a factor in key parts of the Middle East as the US has taken a step back in some ways, particularly in Syria", said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Russian Federation may agree to extend the oil-supply agreement until the end of 2018, Putin said Wednesday, although he'll wait to make a decision nearer the expiry of the existing pact in March.

Peskov said the cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh was in the interest of both countries and also of the world's stability.

The leaders held one-on-one talks, followed by broader discussions.

Putin visited Riyadh in 2007 and last met Salman in Turkey in 2015.

Salman said he last visited Russian Federation in 2006, before becoming king.

Russian state media hailed King Salman's visit as evidence that Russia's backing for Mr Al Assad had made Mr Putin "master of the Middle East".