Putin heads to UAE and Saudi Arabia, courts Iran’s leader
Putin is to visit Abu Dhabi not Dubai, which is hosting the COP28 summit
Moscow — The Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday President Vladimir Putin would visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow the following day.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also said Russia co-operates with the three countries in the Opec+ group of oil producers and that the voluntary production cuts agreed to by the oil cartel last week will take time to kick in.
Voluntary supply cuts would total about 2.2-million barrels per day (bpd) from January, and include an extension of existing Saudi and Russian voluntary cuts of 1.3-million bpd.
The supply cuts were greeted with scepticism by the oil market because of doubts whether they would be fully implemented.
Asked if Putin would discuss oil market co-operation on his Gulf trip, Peskov said: “These discussions are held within the Opec+ format, but of course co-operation in this area is always on the agenda.”
The Kremlin confirmed that Putin would hold talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, on co-operation within Opec+.
Putin and the crown prince have developed close ties and were instrumental in forging the 2016 deal that formed the Opec+ group comprising Opec oil-producing states and Russian allies.
Apart from energy issues, Putin is keen to cultivate the Gulf states as part of his drive to build a global alliance with non-Western countries and demonstrate what he says is the failure of the US and its allies to isolate Russia with sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine since February 2022.
Putin’s foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov said Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine would also be discussed during Putin’s trip.
Dubai, the UAE’s largest city, is hosting the COP28 global climate summit. However, a Russian representative at the event said Putin would be going to Abu Dhabi, not to Dubai, and would not take part in the summit.
Peskov said the agenda for Thursday’s visit to Moscow by Raisi was likely to include regional issues including the war in Gaza.
Iran backs the militant Palestinian group Hamas, Israel’s enemy which the US and EU have designated as a terrorist organisation. Russia has angered Israel by hosting a Hamas delegation in Moscow.
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