Historic, breakthrough, turning, and successful politicians do not skimp on epithets, describing the first ever state visit of king of Saudi Arabia Salman in Russia. But the sensation did not happen: the contract for the supply of systems s-400, which would indicate a new phase of bilateral relations without regard to the United States, was not signed.
photo: Natalia Gubernatorova
The visit of king Salman bin Abdul-al Saud Aziza in Moscow have prepared thoroughly. Saudi businessmen hung on the way from the airport the welcome posters with the image of the monarch of the guardian, as indicated by his official title, of two Islamic Holy places (Holy mosques of al-Haram in Mecca and the prophet’s Mosque in Medina). And the Russian President, speaking yesterday at the Energy forum, assured Saudi authorities that they, like other countries in the Middle East, you can count on honest dialogue and predictable policy. “Our advantage is that we never with anyone not playing a double game and if there are disagreements directly talk about it”, – said Putin.
Numerous retinue Salman occupied a five star hotel in the centre of Moscow since the beginning of the week. Guests brought 450 tons of Luggage and paid for not only accommodation, but also a change of scenery. At their request, in hotel rooms appeared interior, familiar to the East – in particular, the low trestle beds instead of conventional chairs.
Only with the king of Saudi Arabia came about a thousand people – relatives, servants, guards, technicians, doctors and government officials. Business-the Saudis took an active part in the Russian energy week, where they discussed the prospects of extension of the transaction for the reduction of oil production within OPEC+. Not carrying the household took a walk around the boutiques of famous brands.
The monarch has arrived in Moscow on Wednesday evening to travel to the Kremlin have not went: to prepare for negotiations with Vladimir Putin, 81-year-old king, who recently suffered a stroke, it took time to acclimatize – from the dry desert climate he was in the midst of the Moscow bad weather.
From the Russian side at the welcoming ceremony Salman in St. Andrew’s hall was attended by Russian Ministers, but the governors who maintained active links with the Saudis – Rustam Minnikhanov (Tatarstan), yunusbek Yevkurov (Ingushetia), Rustem Khamitov (Bashkiria) and Ramzan Kadyrov (Chechnya) – last reason (perhaps on the occasion of his own birthday) in full camouflage and with a gilded symbol of Islam on his chest. From the Arab guests came the pungent smell of ambergris, is part of men’s perfume, which is used in Saudi Arabia.
Out of respect for the age of the monarch the ceremony was held on an abbreviated program, but even those few minutes on my feet was given to Salman to work. He tried to find a stick as a fulcrum, confused looked around, and once played hymns, went in the wrong direction: it was necessary to Vladimir Putin to take him gently by the sleeve. The New York Times recently wrote that in the Saudi establishment, there are persistent rumors about the imminent abdication of the king in favor of his son – 31-year-old crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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However, at the negotiating table guest feel pretty confident, and judging by the facial expressions of the foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, was struck by the Russian delegation are long, and most importantly informative speech that does not pertain to the public part of such events. Putting on his glasses in a gold frame and referencing a pre-written theses, the king said that Saudi Arabia considers Russia as a friendly country and intends to develop cooperation in all that “serves the cause of peace and prosperity.” One of the key areas – oil production. “We look forward to continuing positive engagement with Russia to achieve stability in world oil markets,” said Salman.
Relations between the two countries, he estimated, “characterized by a convergence of views on many regional and international issues”. The monarch said that the foreign policy goal of the Saudis is to end the suffering of the Palestinian people, to squeeze Iran from Yemen and other middle Eastern countries, as well as to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq. In addition, Salman spoke in support of the Rohingya Muslims: the international community, he said, must find a solution and protect them from violence.
Before the start of negotiations, it was known that the Saudi delegation will focus on discussion of several key topics – the situation in the oil market, the settlement in Syria and the expansion of Iran to the neighboring countries.
Recently, the Saudis changed the rhetoric: they do not insist on the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad as the precondition to beginning a political process. In their opinion, he could become a compromise figure during the transition period, which will last at least 6 months, and only after that, will have to “go dark”.
Much more Riyadh care about Qatar and Iran. It is not excluded that in the negotiations the Kremlin was proposed investments in the economy and major contracts in this sector (in particular, for the purchase of s-400) in exchange for non-cooperation with Iran. However, Vladimir Putin had previously stated that he would not go to such transaction. “It is our neighbor, our longtime partner, we value and respect the national interests of Iran,” the President said at the Energy forum, answering the question about prospects of the conclusion of the Iranian armed groups from Syria after the armed phase of the conflict.
As a result, the number of signed documents is not acatalasemia on the delivery of s-400 in the amount of $3 billion While military-technical cooperation between the two countries will be limited to Kalashnikovs and ammunition for different purposes, the production of which, according to the signed following the visit of the document, will be organized on the territory of Saudi Arabia.
In addition to Rosoboronexport, the agreements with the Saudis exchanged the Russian foreign Ministry, the Ministry of culture, Senseless, the Ministry of labor, Ministry of communications and Ministry of industry and trade. The Russian direct investment Fund (RDIF) has agreed with Saudi investors on the establishment of two mutual funds at $2 billion technology and energy. In addition, Saudi Arabia will invest $100 million in the construction of the Northern alternate route to Kutuzovsky Prospekt in Moscow.
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