Saudi Arabia considers buying Russia's S-400 air defence system

Saudi king to make historic visit to Russia

Saudi Arabia has signed preliminary agreements to buy S-400 air defence systems from Russian Federation, officials said, on the sidelines of King Salman's "landmark" visit to Moscow.

The Kremlin said ahead of the visit that Salman and Putin would also discuss "the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, especially focusing on conflict situations in the region". Mr Putin expressed hope that it would boost ties between the two countries.

But the two sides have chose to end their animus, and in a round of meetings will sign commercial deals, coordinate on oil prices, and discuss a potential peace settlement in Syria, including the future role of Iran, now that it seems clear that President Bashar-al Assad is not going to be deposed.

Moscow and Riyadh worked together to secure a deal between OPEC and other oil producers to cut output until the end of March 2018, helping support prices.

While Riyadh has maintained its strategic alliance with the USA, it has also sought to improve ties with Russian Federation in a bid to counter the influence of its arch-rival, Iran and dissuade the Kremlin from too close a partnership with Tehran.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Russian news agencies earlier Friday that non-OPEC states would be willing to extend the output cut "if necessary".

"Is there anything in the world that stays unchanged?" "But I think he took the arguments on board, he heard them", he said.

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Fyodor Lukyanov, the Kremlin-connected chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, said Riyadh saw closer ties with Moscow as expedient for the moment, and was "diversifying risks" by buying arms from both Moscow and the US.

Riyadh's support for rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad and Moscow's backing of Assad leaves Russian Federation aligned with Saudi's arch-rival Iran, whose influence Riyadh fears is growing in the region.

"Saudi Arabia needs Russian Federation to help stabilize the oil market".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an interview has said that the visit of King Salman would contribute to stability in the Middle East.

With 60 percent of Russia's budget revenues from oil imports, the kingdom is aware that Moscow prioritizes a sort of coordination and agreement with Riyadh on oil prices and production.

According to Russia's foreign ministry, acting USA mission head Anthony Godfrey was handed a "note of protest over the intention of the American authorities to conduct a search".

"That said, it's clear that Russian Federation has been able to play a weak hand very well and step into vacuums everywhere where the USA has treated", he said. Relations improved under the Trump administration, but Washington's focus in Syria continues to be on fighting the Islamic State group, not on ousting Assad.

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