King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Source: Kremlin.ru
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became the first Saudi monarch to visit Moscow, and this trip has been hailed by both governments as historic. The relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have often been strained in a geopolitical lens on issues like Syria and Iran.
However, the two countries signed agreements on weapon sales, trade, oil, energy, and have also pledged to work together to resolve Middle East regional issues peacefully. Even though Moscow and Riyadh are on opposing sides in the War in Syria, relations have improved in recent years. Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has held several meetings with President Vladimir Putin that can help expand peace and prosperity for both countries.
King Salman’s visit to Moscow highlights Russia’s growing power in the Middle East. The Saudi king is not only trying to find a political supporter after the defeat of the Islamic State, but he is also looking for a military market that can drive out the last remaining strongholds of DAESH.
Since the continuing fall of oil prices in mid-2014, Russia and Saudi Arabia, along with OPEC and non-OPEC members, agreed to extend production cuts of around two million barrels a day. Moscow and Riyadh’s increasingly growing ties can allow them to cooperate on stabilizing the global oil market.
One of the interesting focal points of Moscow’s diplomatic role in the Middle East has been its ability to maneuver with its partners as not only a regional power, but a global power. So far, Russia has been able to hold a lot of stake in the security and political dimensions of the Middle East’s growing powers like Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.