Putin says Russia has 'very friendly' relations with Saudi crown prince

Updated October 13, 2019

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (centre) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greet each other at the G20 summit in  — AFP/File
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (centre) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greet each other at the G20 summit in — AFP/File

President Vladimir Putin said Russia has “very friendly personal relations” with Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman.

Putin was speaking in an interview with Arab broadcasters, including Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, ahead of his first visit to Saudi Arabia in over a decade.

Tensions in the region are high following attacks on oil installations in Saudi Arabia, which sent prices surging, and the seizure of tankers in the Gulf.

He also said Russia was studying new investments in Saudi Arabia. Russian company Sibur Holding was looking at building a petrochemical complex in Saudi with investment worth more than $1 billion, Putin told Al Arabiya.

'Russia will work with Saudi to stabilise oil market'

Russia will work with Saudi Arabia against any “attempt to destabilise” the oil market, Putin said in the interview, on the eve of his visit to Riyadh.

“If anyone believes that acts such as the seizing of tankers or strikes against oil infrastructure could in any way affect the cooperation between Russia and our Arab friends... they are very wrong,” Putin said.

“We will absolutely work with Saudi Arabia and our other partners and friends in the Arab world... to reduce to zero any attempt to destabilise the oil market,” he said in the interview with Arabic-language news channels.

In recent years, non-member Russia has cooperated closely with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which is led by Saudi Arabia.

The group has sought to limit supply, leading to a rebound in prices after the collapse of 2014-2015, which badly hit the Russian economy.

“Our goal is to stabilise the situation in the global hydrocarbon market,” Putin said.

Last month, Saudi Arabia, the United States and a number of European nations accused Iran of being behind the drone attacks on Saudi infrastructure.

Tehran denied involvement in the attacks, which were claimed by Yemen's Huthi rebels.

Putin said Russia was ready to participate in an investigation into the incidents. Moscow, which has “good relations with all the countries in the region” could also play a “positive role” in attempts to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Putin said.