Russian President Putin hails KSA’s ‘global role’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends an interview with Al Arabiya, Sky News Arabia and RT Arabic ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia, in Sochi, Russia. (Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters)
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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires, on December 1, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 October 2019

Russian President Putin hails KSA’s ‘global role’

  • On eve of state visit, Russian president discusses Aramco attacks, Iran and Syria

JEDDAH: As Saudi leaders prepared on Sunday to welcome the Russian president on a state visit to the Kingdom, Vladimir Putin spoke of his personal ties with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the areas of cooperation between the two countries and Saudi Arabia’s key role in the region and the world.
In a TV interview with Arab broadcasters, President Putin condemned last month’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities, and said the attempt to disrupt the global oil market had failed.
“Such actions do not bring any positive results to anybody, including perpetrators,” he told Al Arabiya.
“If someone may have wanted to deal a blow to the oil market, they failed. We need to respond to any attempt to destabilize the market. Russia will certainly continue working with Saudi Arabia and other partners and friends in the Arab world to counter any attempts to wreak havoc in the market.”
Putin said Russia could play a positive role in resolving regional disagreements, because of Moscow’s positive relations with the Arab world, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
“We consider Saudi Arabia a friendly nation,” he said. “I have very good relations with both the king and the crown prince. We have been making good headway practically in all fields.”
On Syria, where Russia and Iran have been key allies of Bashar Assad in the eight-year civil war, the Russian president said they could not reach a positive outcome without Saudi cooperation.
“I would like to emphasize the positive role Saudi Arabia has played in resolving the Syrian crisis,” he said. “We are working with Turkey and Iran to resolve the Syrian conflict, but without Saudi Arabia it would not be possible to come to a good solution.”
On the issue of the 2015 agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear development, Putin was asked if Moscow supported a return to negotiations with Tehran to limit its ballistic missile program.
“Most likely it can and should be discussed,” he said.
“The missile program is one thing and the nuclear program is another thing … there is no need to merge one with the other.”
The Russian president said OPEC+ was an initiative introduced by the crown prince to increase their cooperation in the oil sector, and that he was the one who suggested expanding military collaboration between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia was not just a regional energy player but also a global one, and “we care about our cooperation,” Putin said.
The Russian leader described his visit to the Kingdom as the return trip to King Salman’s visit to Moscow in 2017, and said a number of joint economic projects were in development.
“Our Direct Investment Fund and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia have jointly established a $10 billion platform, and $2 billion has already been invested,” he said.
“Work is underway on other projects, and some promising and interesting projects have already been implemented.
“We are fostering a partnership in the trust-based, sensitive area of military and defense cooperation. I am confident that my visit will help to build up the momentum both in developing bilateral relations and enhancing cooperation in international organizations.”
After visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday, the president will travel to the UAE on Tuesday. Following his interview, political analyst and international relations scholar Hamdan Al-Shehri said Russia was well aware of Saudi Arabia’s international profile, particularly in the energy fields.
“Russia’s interest in this area is very important and requires coordination between the two major countries in order to stabilize the world oil markets,” Al-Shehri said.
“The security and stability of the global energy market lead to global security, it affects everything.”
He also noted that there was steady growth in investment between the two countries, “Putin talked about 15 percent growth last year, around 38 percent this year, and I believe projects may increase to reach technology, nuclear energy and so on.”
Al-Shehri said relations with major powers such as Russia were important for the Kingdom, but these countries’ role in confronting Iran was just as important. Although the Russian president had emphasized the positive role Saudi Arabia had played in resolving the Syrian crisis, Al-Shehri said there was more to be done.
“It is a very important statement, and President Putin has addressed it well. It shows the world the difference between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” he said.

WATCH: Car ploughs through Grand Mosque courtyard in Makkah, crashes into door

Updated 19 min 31 sec ago

WATCH: Car ploughs through Grand Mosque courtyard in Makkah, crashes into door

  • Police say driver in ‘abnormal’ condition

RIYADH: Video footage captured the dramatic moment a car was driven at high speed across the courtyard of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, before finally smashing into one of the doors on Friday night.

Saudi security authorities then arrested a man who was pulled from the car, state news agency SPA reported.

Reports suggest the car was driven at high speed on a road surrounding the southern square the Grand Mosque, also known Masjid Haramain, SPA added, quoting the official spokesman of Makkah region, Sultan Al-Dossari.

He said the incident happened at around 10:30 p.m..

No one was hurt in the incodent the report added.

Investigators said the driver of the car was a Saudi citizen who was “in an abnormal condition.” 

The offender is being referred to the Public Prosecution office, it said.