Mon Oct 14th, 2019 at 07:21:08 PM EST
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In the Middle East, Russia is back | Gulf News |
Among the presidents, prime ministers, kings and princes who have visited Moscow over the past year to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin are some of the United States' closest allies, who once might have been expected to devote their travel time to Washington.
There's a new power rising in the Middle East, and it needs to be wooed.
Continued below the fold ...
Three decades after the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged as the undisputed superpower in the Middle East and North Africa, a resurgent Russia is back.
Apart from Syria, Russia has shown little inclination to wade into most of the region's myriad conflicts, such as the Yemen war, the Arab-Israeli peace process and the dispute between Qatar and its neighbors. But Putin has welcomed anyone who wants to visit, making Moscow a must-stop destination for leaders with a problem to solve.
It also positioned Putin at the nexus of the Middle East's overlapping conflicts, leveraging Russia's influence far beyond Syria's borders to include all the countries with a stake in the outcome of the war -- foes such as Israel and Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey.
Lebanon opens up to Russia
Lebanon came under intense U.S. pressure earlier this year to rebuff a $1 billion arms deal offered by Russia that would have ended a decades-old U.S. and Western monopoly on supplying aid to the Lebanese army, according to a Lebanese government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the subject.
Late last month, however, Prime Minister Saad Hariri accepted a donation of "millions of Kalashnikov bullets" from Russia, which will be given to the internal security forces, his office said.
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Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, President of Russian Federation, Witness Saudi-Russian Energy Partnership Event, Co-signing Cooperation Charter, Exchanging Agreements' Ceremonies
Riyadh, Oct 14, 2019, SPA -- The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin witnessed here today, the Saudi-Russian Energy Partnership Event, for co-signing of the cooperation charter and exchanging agreements between the governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation, in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
At the outset of the event, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Minister of Energy, delivered a speech, pointing out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation have started a new phase of cooperation and integration, in many development domains, aimed at achieving prosperity and progress, for both countries.
"In the Saudi-Russian Joint Committee, we are working together to harmonize the ambitions and strategic objectives of the Kingdom Vision 2030 with the ambitions and objectives of the strategic development plans of Russia, and as a result of this, the Saudi-Russian high-level strategic cooperation agreement are to be exchanged here today."
"We aim, through the agreements which will be exchanged to develop many economic and development fields, which include: petroleum industry, other energy sectors, scientific research, space, justice, health services, tax administration, mineral wealth, tourism, aviation industry, cultural cooperation, strengthen trade relations and other sectors, as the relevant government agencies, such as sovereign investment funds, state-owned enterprises and the private sector, in both countries, will contribute to the great effort, in this field."
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Strong Russia-Saudi Ties Show Promise of New Heights Ahead of Putin's Visit to Riyadh | Sputnik News |
Russia and Saudi Arabia have come a long way in terms of boosting bilateral relations in the past few years, from joint investments and cooperation in the field of energy to cultural projects and easing visa policies.
During the visit ..., Moscow and Riyadh will be announcing new agreements worth over $2 billion, according to Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).
The Soviet Union was the first country to recognise the independent Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, which was renamed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.
Moscow established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd in 1926, but these ties were severed in 1938 due to the Soviet Union's domestic problems and Saudi Arabia's change of policy in favour of closer cooperation with the West.
Soviet/Russian-Saudi diplomatic relations were restored in 1991 with Saudi Arabia recognising the Russian Federation as the legal successor of the Soviet Union.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first official visit to Saudi Arabia in February 2007, which was also the first visit by a Russian head of state to the Arabian Peninsula.
During his meeting with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi ministers, Dmitriev received the highest honour in Saudi Arabia, the King Abdulaziz Second-Class Order of Merit for his role in strengthening bilateral cooperation. This made the RDIF CEO the second Russian national after Putin to be awarded this honour.
Diaries and related reporting from Liz Sly (WaPo) ...
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