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Russia's Relations With Saudi Arabia May Reach Level of Strategic Partnership, Envoy Says

© Sputnik / Mihail Klimentyev / Go to the mediabankRussia–Saudi Arabia relations
Russia–Saudi Arabia relations - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.02.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow's relations with Riyadh may reach the level of a strategic partnership, Russian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sergei Kozlov said in an interview with Sputnik on Sunday.
"A feature of our political interaction with the Kingdom, which has a real prospect of reaching the level of strategic partnership, is a regular and trusting dialogue at the highest level," the ambassador said.
Kozlov added that political relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have a steady tendency to progressive development in recent years and the basis for this is a common approach to most international and regional issues.
Relations between Russia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been on the rise after the OPEC+ deal was struck. The agreement allows to reduce or increase hydrocarbon production in order to stabilize global energy markets.
In October 2022 OPEC+ announced that the alliance agreed to cut oil production by two million barrels per day from November. The decision received criticism from the US, which unequivocally demanded an increase in production to combat rising domestic energy prices.

Cooperation in Conventional and Non-Conventional Energy

Moscow hopes that Riyadh will appreciate the advantages of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom for the construction of the first nuclear power plant (NPP) in Saudi Arabia, Kozlov added.
In late December, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that Rosatom had sent documents to participate in a tender for the construction of the first NPP in Saudi Arabia.
© Sputnik / Maksim Bogodvid / Go to the mediabankAn oil pumpjack is seen in Almetyevsk District, Tatarstan, Russia.
An oil pumpjack is seen in Almetyevsk District, Tatarstan, Russia. - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.02.2023
An oil pumpjack is seen in Almetyevsk District, Tatarstan, Russia.
According to Kozlov, Russia is a world leader in the nuclear industry, outstripping its foreign counterparts in technology.
"We hope that these obvious competitive advantages of the bid of the Rosatom state corporation will be properly appreciated by Saudi partners when choosing a [tender] winner," the ambassador said, adding that preparations for the tender have reached the final stage.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are also effectively cooperating in the conventional energy sector and within the framework of OPEC+, the ambassador stressed.
"The expediency and effectiveness of such cooperation in the global dimension has been confirmed in practice. This is evident from various crisis situations, including the most difficult period of the coronavirus pandemic," Kozlov said.
He added that the coordinated actions of the largest oil producers have made it possible to stabilize energy markets to a large extent.
"In the current situation, this work continues to be in demand," the Russian envoy told Sputnik, adding that Riyadh believes that the introduction of various kinds of illegitimate restrictions, such as sanctions and price ceilings, only fuels uncertainty and unpredictability in the global energy sector.

Military&Security Cooperation

Russia and Saudi Arabia have stepped up efforts to expand military-technical cooperation amid Riyadh’s focus on diversifying defense capabilities, Kozlov stressed.
"Relevant work in this area has recently intensified significantly. In particular, this is evidenced by regular bilateral contacts, including such a working format as the joint Russian-Saudi intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation," Kozlov said.
The ambassador explained that Saudi Arabia is looking for other potential military cooperation partners amid tensions with Washington and US threats to reassess the parameters of relations with Saudi Arabia, including with respect to the military.

Bilateral Trade, Economic Ties

There are prerequisites for the growth of bilateral trade between Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2023, with the parties seeking to reach an indicator of $5 billion "in the foreseeable future," Russian Envoy pointed out.
Bilateral trade and economic ties between the countries are characterized by positive dynamics, but in January-November 2022, Russian-Saudi trade has slightly decreased, Kozlov said.
"But the volume of $1.6 billion is quite significant. In our opinion, there are good prerequisites for further growth in 2023. Moreover, both the Russian and Saudi sides intend to reach the indicator of $5 billion in the foreseeable future, outlined by the top leadership of Russia and Saudi Arabia," the ambassador said.
He noted that Moscow considers Riyadh a promising trade and economic partner, whose role in global and regional affairs is steadily increasing.
Earlier in the day, Kozlov said that the export of Russian agricultural products to Saudi Arabia in 2022 witnessed an unprecedented growth of almost 50%, approaching $1 billion.
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