Russia, Saudi Arabia cement new friendship with king’s visit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Saudi King Salman at the Kremlin in Moscow on Thursday, October 5, 2017. (AN photo by Bandar Al-Jaloud)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Saudi King Salman at the Kremlin in Moscow on Thursday, October 5, 2017. (AN photo by Bandar Al-Jaloud)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin shows the way to Saudi Arabia's King Salman during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on Thursday, October 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Yuri Kadobnov/Pool)
Updated 06 October 2017
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Russia, Saudi Arabia cement new friendship with king’s visit

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for talks at the Kremlin on Thursday, cementing a relationship that is crucial for determining world oil prices and could be pivotal for resolving conflicts in the Middle East.
King Salman, the first sitting Saudi monarch to visit Russia, led a delegation to Moscow that agreed joint investment deals worth several billion dollars, providing much-needed investment for a Russian economy battered by low oil prices and Western sanctions.
Briefing the media on the talks between Putin and King Salman, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov focused on the common ground between the two countries.
Lavrov said the two leaders had agreed on the importance of fighting terror, of finding peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Middle East, and on the principle of territorial integrity.
In a concrete expression of how ties are deepening, Saudi Arabia said it had signed a memorandum of understanding on the purchase of S-400 air defense systems from Russia’s state arms exporter.
The two leaders had a “friendly and substantial discussion based on a desire by Moscow and Riyadh to consistently grow mutually-beneficial partnerships in all spheres,” Lavrov said at a briefing alongside his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir.
“We believe that new horizons have opened up for the development of our relations that we could not previously have imagined,” the Saudi foreign minister said, speaking through an interpreter.
“Relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have reached a historical moment,” said Al-Jubeir. “We are certain that the further strengthening of Russian-Saudi relations will have a positive impact on strengthening stability and security in the region and the world.”
Riyadh supports forces fighting President Bashar Assad’s group while Russian troops and Iranian militias have sided with Assad. This leaves Moscow aligned with Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival Iran, whom Riyadh and its neighbors have accused of fomenting strife in the region.
However, Russia’s military intervention in the Syria conflict has brought about an acknowledgement in Arab capitals that it now has real clout in the Middle East.
Moscow and Riyadh worked together to secure a deal between OPEC and other oil producers to cut output until the end of March 2018, in an effort to push up world prices.
Billboards were erected on the road from the airport to central Moscow welcoming King Salman in Arabic and Russian.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Russia in May.


Contractor appointed for $1.4bn Jubail Island project in Abu Dhabi

Updated 1 min 31 sec ago
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Contractor appointed for $1.4bn Jubail Island project in Abu Dhabi

  • Project will be open to foreign property investors
  • Gulf Contractors Company to carry out enabling works

LONDON: A contractor has been appointed to carry out initial works for a $1.4 billion island development in Abu Dhabi.

Gulf Contractors Company won the enabling works contract for the Jubail Island project in the UAE capital, the company behind the development said.

The works under the contract are scheduled for completion in January 2020, according to the Jubail Island Investment Company (JIIC), the UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Enabling works generally involve major earthworks and grading of a site, ahead of the installation of infrastructure such as roads, utilities, and other facilities. 

Over 2.5 million cubic meters of material will be excavated and placed to create the formation level for over 40 kilometers of roadways and more than 800 residential properties as part of the contracted works, according to WAM.

The giant Jubail Island project will span six “investment zone villages” and will be home to between 5,000 and 6,000 residents, according to the developer. 

The project, which has 13 kilometers of waterfront and is being built on a natural island in Abu Dhabi emirate, is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“Offering housing, commercial, leisure and freehold investment opportunities particularly for Emiratis and expatriates is a central planning element for Jubail Island,” said Mounir Haidar, managing director of JIIC.

“Today’s announcement confirms the timely delivery of the newly launched project in conformity with leading construction and environmental standards.”

Abu Dhabi in April amended its real estate laws, lifting restrictions on foreigners owning freehold properties in certain free zones in the emirate.