MOSCOW: King Salman will arrive in Russia in the next few days at the head of a high-powered delegation of key government and private-sector figures.
Preparations for the visit, the first by a reigning Saudi monarch, “have entered a final stage,” the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dimitry Peskov said on Sunday.
“Saudi Arabia plays an important role in Arab and inter-Arab affairs as one of the leaders of the Arab world,” he said. “Our main hope is that this visit will give new impetus to the development of bilateral relations, because the potential of our relationship is much richer than the de facto situation.
“Certainly, Russia is interested in maintaining a dialogue, including a discussion of the situation in the Middle East and in Syria in particular.”
Andrey Baklanov, former Russian ambassador to Saudi Arabia and president of the Russian Association of Diplomats, said he had high hopes for the visit.
“The level of talks we had with the Saudis in the past, and the mutual cooperation, will give impetus to more stable relations. In the past, Russia and Saudi Arabia were in cyclical relations, drifting from being active and positive to fading,” Baklanov told Arab News.
Venyamin Popov, a leading Russian diplomat and coordinator of the Group of Strategic Vision (Russia-Islamic World), said Saudi Arabia and Russia had reached a mutual understanding, especially in the energy field.
“Through our cooperation with the Saudis, the price of oil has reached $56 per barrel. This is a mutual benefit,” he said. “We have great prospects in other fields of cooperation, as in the case of Syria, as we in Russia and Saudi Arabia seek the integrity of Syria.”
Nikolay Sukhov, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the two countries would have to tackle many obstacles before reaching compromises.
“In spite of all the challenges and hindrances, there are ways and means to reach compromises through bilateral cooperation,” he said.