Putin to Attend Talks in UAE and Saudi Arabia

06 December 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to visit two Middle Eastern countries on Wednesday - the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. During his stay, the Russian leader will engage in bilateral talks.


Both visits, along with his return to Moscow, are scheduled to take place within a single day. The following day, the Russian president has additional major events planned. Putin has not traveled to the Middle East since the onset of the pandemic, with his last visit to the region occurring in 2019 when he visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia. However, ongoing contacts with Arab countries have been maintained in other formats.


As highlighted by the Kremlin, the primary focus of each meeting will be bilateral relations. Additionally, international topics, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, will be addressed. Putin is also expected to share his assessment of the situation in Ukraine with his colleagues.


Another crucial agenda item for all involved parties is cooperation in the energy sector. Russia, being a member of the OPEC+ format, consistently aligns its actions with other leaders in the oil market. Additionally, Gazprom and Novatek, Russian energy companies, are actively engaged in joint projects with Arab countries. Representatives from these energy firms will be part of the Russian delegation and will participate in the negotiations.


The visits will also include an informal component: traditionally, Putin will present gifts to his Middle Eastern colleagues. Four years ago, the Russian leader gave them white and Kamchatka gyrfalcons.


The first part of the trip


Putin will initially travel to Abu Dhabi, UAE. According to Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov, "following an official meeting at the airport and discussions at the palace, there are plans to hold talks as part of the respective delegations." Subsequently, the Russian head of state and UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will engage in one-on-one discussions.


The agenda for the talks includes discussions on the current state and future prospects of bilateral cooperation, as well as addressing international issues, with a particular focus on the situation in the Middle East.


The Kremlin highlighted the successful development of bilateral ties between Moscow and Abu Dhabi, describing the cooperation as "comprehensive, partnership-oriented, and fruitful". A trusting dialogue has been established between the leaders, with particular attention to the expanding economic ties.


"The United Arab Emirates is Russia's primary economic partner in the Arab world. In 2022, the mutual trade turnover reached a historic peak, reaching a record high of $9 billion. The ongoing year also sees significant progress in our interaction, with trade turnover in January-September registering a 63% increase compared to the same period last year," noted Ushakov, citing statistics.


The heads of state are scheduled to meet for the second time this year. In June, Sheikh Mohammed attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where the UAE held the honorary status of a guest country.

Arrival in Saudi Arabia


Following that, Putin will travel to Riyadh, where he will hold talks initially at the delegation level, followed by a separate meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Chairman of the Saudi Council of Ministers.


The discussions are set to cover various areas, including trade, economics, investments, and collaboration in multilateral formats. The North-South transportation corridor's prospects will also be explored. Energy matters will be a key focus, with Russian-Saudi coordination in the OPEC+ format highlighted as crucial for maintaining stability in the global oil market.


Special attention will be given to addressing the situations in Syria and Yemen, as well as ensuring stability in the Persian Gulf zone. Although Putin has not met with the Saudi crown prince since 2019, they regularly communicate by phone, with five calls recorded in 2023 alone.


The Kremlin expresses satisfaction with the current state of relations with Riyadh. Bilateral trade turnover from January to September saw a 4.8% increase compared to the same period last year, reaching $1.35 billion. Agriculture, energy (including nuclear power), industry, investment, and space are identified as promising areas for collaboration. Russian agricultural product exports constitute around 70% of the trade turnover between the two countries.


The Russian delegation for the two visits includes Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Deputy Prime Ministers Denis Manturov and Alexander Novak, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina, heads of Roscosmos and Rosatom Yuri Borisov and Alexei Likhachev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, and presidential aides Igor Levitin and Maxim Oreshkin. Igor Shuvalov, Chairman of VEB.RF, will also participate in the extended talks in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: official website of the President of the Russian Federation

Based on materials from TASS