October 06, 2017
RUSSIA has signed a groundbreaking deal to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia as Vladimir Putin strengthens his influence in the Middle East.

Putin’s Middle East power surge: Russia sells WEAPONS to Saudi Arabia in lucrative deal

Saudi King Salam met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin yesterday marking a thaw in relations between the two nations.
Mr Putin hailed the visit from the king - the first sitting Saudi monarch to visit Russia - as a “landmark event”.
King Salam’s delegation agreed joint investment deals worth billions of pounds providing a boost to the Russian economy after it was battered by low oil prices.
Along with S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, Saudi Arabia is also set to buy Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems and multiple rocket launchers.

Putin’s Middle East power surge: Russia sells WEAPONS to Saudi Arabia in lucrative deal

Saudi Arabia’s Military Industries Corporation said the agreement is "expected to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the military and military systems industry in Saudi Arabia”.
During the visit King Salaman said he was looking forward to building a strong relationship with Russia “in the interests of peace, security and development of the world economy”.
The visit comes after decades of tensions, most recently over the war in Syria, where Saudi Arabia had backed the Sunni rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad, while Iran had teamed up with Russia to strengthen his control.
King Salaman also told Putin Iran should stop meddling in Middle Eastern conflicts.

Putin’s Middle East power surge: Russia sells WEAPONS to Saudi Arabia in lucrative deal



He said: "We emphasise that the security and stability of the Gulf region and the Middle East is an urgent necessity for achieving stability and security in Yemen.
"This would demand that Iran give up interference with the internal affairs of the region, to give up actions destabilising the situation in this region."
The US is still Saudi Arabia's top weapons supplier and an important ally, but yesterday's deals highlighted Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East.
Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said: “A number of Gulf leaders have been going with greater regularity to Moscow and I think for a simple reason: Russia has made itself much more of a factor in key parts of the Middle East as the US has taken a step back in some ways, particularly in Syria.”
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