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21 Jul, 2022 20:23

Putin speaks to Saudi crown prince

The two leaders spoke just days after US President Biden's controversial trip to Riyadh
Putin speaks to Saudi crown prince

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in global oil markets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a phone call on Thursday.

The conversation came just a few days after US President Joe Biden traveled to Riyadh for an official visit which appears to have yielded mixed results.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that relations between Washington and Riyadh have hit historic lows. According to the report, citing sources in both capitals, the personal enmity between US President Joe Biden and bin Salman has been an important factor in the fraying of relations.

Meanwhile, Putin and Bin Salman praised the high level of “friendly” bilateral relations between the two nations and their cooperation within the OPEC+ group, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies such as Russia, which together comprise OPEC+, are “consistently fulfilling their obligations” to keep the balance and stability in the global energy market, the two leaders said, according to the Kremlin. 

Last month, the group agreed to increase output by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 0.7% of global demand, over July and August. The decision came as Western nations had been pressuring OPEC to address global energy shortages exacerbated by sanctions on Russia. The move, however, failed to drive oil prices lower at that time. 

On Thursday, Putin and bin Salman also discussed bilateral relations and focused on “expanding mutually beneficial trade and economic ties,” the Kremlin said. Back in May, Riyadh said that Russia’s military action in Ukraine would not affect Saudi Arabia’s relations with either Russia or Ukraine, as the kingdom sought to maintain its extensive trade relations with both countries. 

The two leaders also exchanged views on the situation in Syria, according to the Kremlin readout. On Tuesday, after the summit in Tehran where Putin met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Russian president said the US should stop “looting” Syria. Hundreds of American troops are still present in Syria, where they are controlling the oil wells and wheat fields in the country’s northeast.