Putin and MBS Solidify Business Dealings In Riyadh

(LibertySociety.com) – Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a special visit to Saudi Arabia during his Middle Eastern tour and met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on December 6. The pair rendezvoused in Riyadh, where Putin was deemed a “cherished guest” by bin Salman.

During the visit, the two leaders signed agreements involving space, tourism, energy, and a host of other topics. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has begun re-engaging diplomatically with Iran and distancing itself from the United States. Russia has had friendly ties with Iran for many years. Shortly after President Biden took office, he learned how his accusatory rhetoric regarding the killing of Washington Post journalist James Khashoggi muddied the waters with the Saudis. Unlike the warm welcome Putin received from bin Salman, Biden received only a fist bump when he visited in 2022.

During the visit, Putin expressed satisfaction with the relationship between the two countries in a public press exchange with bin Salman. He commended the Saudi Prince’s father, King Salman, for building up and strengthening the ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia over the last seven years. The leaders also met privately during the visit but provided a joint statement that summarized their discussions. Unsurprisingly, energy was the main topic of discussion, as both nations are members of OPEC+, along with 11 other oil-producing countries. The organization has been criticized by both political parties in the United States for manipulating the oil market.

The leaders discussed the economic and security group called BRICS, which is named after member countries that originally formed the partnership. Saudi Arabia was invited to join BRICS back in August, along with Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates. Original members of the coalition include Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. The statement also discussed the two leaders’ promise to “enhance defense cooperation,” but did not go into specific details. Notably, the statement included the joint belief that Palestine should be given a portion of Israel, determined by the borders that were present in 1967.

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