19th August 2003 - Crown Prince's visit to Russia will boost Saudi-Russian relations

Dammam, 19th August 2003

Russian Ambassador to the Kingdom, Dr Andrei Baklanov, said Russia believes that the forthcoming visit of Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Commander of the National Guard, to the Russian Federation will usher in a new era in relations between the two countries, and provide a major boost to Saudi-Russian trade.

Russian relations with OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) will also be enhanced by the visit, he said in an interview published today by Arab News. He said that Russia will play a role in Iraq, and called for effective security arrangements for the sake of the war-torn country and world peace.

Dr Baklanov said that his country would continue to support the Iranian nuclear program, provided that the country meets International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations.

“The Crown Prince’s trip is the first such high-level visit to Russia in history,” Baklanov said, noting that relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia had been rapidly developing in recent years, which has fostered a new climate of better understanding. “We are optimistic that this meeting will create positive impetus to achieve goals that will benefit both countries,” he added.

Baklanov said that the Saudi and Russian governments would sign a number of conventions in economic, scientific and educational fields. “The economic agreement will include investments, and a trade tariff between the two countries. Special emphasis will be laid on the gas and oil industry,” he added.

Russia now has much stronger contacts with OPEC, Baklanov said. “We are working on oil prices with the Saudi government and other OPEC members, so that they satisfy both producer and consumer countries.”

The Ambassador said that Russia and Saudi Arabia share a vision that conditions of the world energy market should be balanced, practicable, and harmonized for the benefit of the world economy.

Baklanov praised the efforts of the two countries in fighting terrorism. “The campaign against terrorism has been intensified; we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Saudi government in the fight to combat terrorists.”

He said that the Iraqi crisis would be a priority on the agenda during talks between the Crown Prince and President Putin. The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict will also be among major issues discussed during the talk.

The Ambassador said that Russia would continue to play its historical role in the Middle East crises as a permanent member of the Security Council. He emphasized the need for effective security measures in the area. “It will help the stability of the region, which will automatically impact the stability of the world,” he said.

Source: SPA

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