Putin Acts While Obama Golfs
(Al Monitor) - Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman visited St. Petersburg in the last week and signed several agreements with the Russians concerning cooperation on oil, space and peaceful nuclear energy, as well as nuclear technology sharing.
It is another high-profile mission for the 29-year-old son of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, but it won't resolve the king's Yemen adventure.
Prince Mohammed was accompanied by Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Minister of Petroleum Ali al-Naimi and senior military and intelligence officials. Details on the agreements are few. The Saudis and Russians discussed cooperation on energy issues, investment and the global oil market. The two agreed to cooperate to achieve stability in the global energy market. It is unlikely the Saudis will reduce production, however, to raise prices.
|Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Saudi Defense |
Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a meeting at the
Konstantin (Konstantinovsky) Palace in St. Petersburg,
June 18, 2015. (photo by REUTERS/Grigory Dukor)
Mohammed chairs the Saudi interagency super committee that oversees the oil and gas industry in the kingdom. This trip to St. Petersburg marks the first time the prince has engaged publicly on oil issues. It's likely his profile will rise on oil matters over time.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mohammed also discussed the war in Yemen. The Saudis want Russia to endorse their hard-line stand against the Houthi rebels. Moscow earlier abstained in the vote on UN Security Council Resolution 2216 that calls for the Houthis to withdraw from Sanaa.
Putin and Mohammed also reportedly discussed the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council pus Germany). They also covered Syria, where Russia backs the Bashar al-Assad regime and the kingdom supports the opposition. Ukraine was apparently not mentioned.
Mohammed invited Putin to visit the kingdom and Putin invited King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud to Russia. No dates have been set for either visit. There was no public discussion of any arms deals, a subject of much speculation during previous Saudi-Russian dialogues. The nuclear technology agreement is linked to very ambitious Saudi plans to build 16 nuclear reactors in the future.
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