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6 Dec, 2023 17:09

Putin arrives in Saudi Arabia

The Russian president was given a royal welcome in Riyadh
Putin arrives in Saudi Arabia

Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Riyadh on Wednesday, as part of his Middle East tour. He is scheduled to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other officials of the Kingdom, which is about to become a member of BRICS next month.

Half a dozen high-ranking Saudi officials greeted the Russian leader as he stepped off the plane, and escorted him to a motorcade waiting to take him to the royal palace.

Earlier in the day, Putin visited the United Arab Emirates and met with UAE leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Emirates put on a show to welcome him, with fighter jets drawing the Russian flag overhead and a motorcade escort of horse- and camel-mounted guards.

According to the Kremlin, the talks in Abu Dhabi focused on bilateral cooperation, “as well as pressing international issues with the emphasis on the situation in the Middle East.” 

Discussions with Crown Prince bin Salman, meanwhile, will touch on the price of oil, the Ukraine conflict, and the situation in Gaza. The two leaders and their aides will also discuss trade and investment plans, according to TASS.

“We expected you in Moscow,” Putin told bin Salman at the start of their meeting, noting that “circumstances necessitated changes those plans.”

“But nothing can hinder the development of our friendly relations,” the Russian leader added. “While here in the region on a planned visit to the UAE, I took advantage of your invitation to meet with you and all the other friends we’ve been developing ties with for the past seven years. But the next meeting should be in Moscow!”

Russia and Saudi Arabia are both members of OPEC+, which agreed last week to further cut production to boost oil prices. Riyadh was approved to join the trade group of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) as of January 2024.

Bloomberg described the Russian leader’s Middle East trip as “defying US and European efforts to isolate him on the global stage.”