Vladimir Putin to visit Saudi Arabia in October

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Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak attend the 6th meeting of the Russian-Saudi Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Moscow on June 10, 2019. (AFP)
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Vladimir Putin will visit the Kingdom in October. (AFP/File photo)
Updated 10 June 2019

Vladimir Putin to visit Saudi Arabia in October

  • Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih announces visit as he holds talks with Russian counterpart in Moscow
  • Discussions include global output deal between OPEC and its allies and possible Saudi investments in Russia

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Saudi Arabia in October, the Kingdom's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday.
Al-Falih, who was in Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart, said Saudi companies were considering taking part in a methanol plant project in Russia's east, the Interfax news agency reported.

The energy minister's visit comes amid increased economic cooperation between the two countries and discussion among OPEC members about oil supplies.

Al-Falih said Russia was the only remaining oil exporter still undecided on the need to extend the global output deal between OPEC and its allies until the end of the year, TASS news agency reported on Monday. OPEC have curbed supplies since January to prop up prices.

Al-Falih said both Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as the OPEC+ group, were working to take "preventive" measures to avoid sharp oil price declines.

In an interview with TASS, Al-Falih said there was disagreement in Russia about whether to prolong the output curbs at a policy meeting in Vienna in the coming weeks.
"So, I think the remaining country to jump onboard now is Russia. I will wait for the Russian dynamics to work themselves out," Al-Falih was quoted as saying.
"There is a debate obviously within the country about the exact volume that Russia should be producing in the second half," he said.
Al-Falih said he and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak may have final opportunity to discuss the deal this month at a G20 meeting in Japan before OPEC and its allies meet in Vienna.

Novak said there is still a risk that oil producers pump out too much crude and prices fall sharply, suggesting Moscow might support the extension of output cuts.
Separately, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said oil prices could fall as low as $30 per barrel if OPEC and its allies did not extend the curbs.
"As far as such a scenario is concerned, this is not ruled out. A lot depends, of course, on the market situation in the second half of the year, in the third quarter, on the supply and demand balance," Novak told a media briefing, sitting alongside Al-Falih.

He also cited trade wars and sanctions as influencing factors.
"Indeed, there are big risks of over-production. But on the whole ... we need to analyse deeper and look at how the events will develop in June in order to take a balanced decision at the joint OPEC+ meeting in July."

Putin said last week Russia and OPEC disagreed over the fair price for oil, but that they would take a joint decision at the policy meeting.


US State Department calls Saudi Arabia ‘important strategic partner’

Updated 25 February 2020

US State Department calls Saudi Arabia ‘important strategic partner’

  • The comments come following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to the Kingdom
  • Pompeo discussed regional issues with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

WASHINGTON: The US State Department on Monday said Saudi Arabia was an "important strategic partner" and paid tribute to the "historical relations" between the two countries.

The comments come following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to the Kingdom during a tour of Middle East and African countries last week.

The State Department added that Pompeo discussed regional issues with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and said the US-Saudi Arabia relationship was a "distinct" one that went beyond confronting Iran.

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It also said that the situation in Syria was "catastrophic," while calling on Russia and Iran to do more to protect civilians and saying there was no military solution to the conflict in the country.

The department also spoke about the situation in Iraq, saying the Iraqi Prime Minister-designate, Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, must include the Kurds and Sunnis in the formation of a government.

The US said that Iran was responsible for aggression against its interests in Iraq and said it would prevent Iraqi militias from attacking the Green Zone.