10/06/2017, 09.50
RUSSIA - SAUDI ARABIA

In Moscow, King Salman signs milestone agreements in military technology and weapons

First, historic visit by a Saudi monarch to Russia. At the center, a $ 3 billion deal for arms sales, including an advanced air defence system. Added to this are investments in the energy sector for one billion. The common goal of stabilizing the oil market.

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Energy, trade, but especially weapons and military technology including an air defence system - are at the heart of the agreement between Moscow and Riyadh, in the context of the first official voyage of a Saudi-historical monarch – historical US ally – to Russia. Analysts and experts say the total value of arms sales is around $ 3 billion. Investment in energy - a key sector for the kingdom, which under the "Vision 2030" reform plan intends to get rid of oil - have reached one billion.

King Salman - accompanied by a delegation of 1000 people - made an official visit to Russia, where he met with President Vladimir Putin. The monarch has dealt with the issue of oil prices, ensuring the country's cooperation in a "stabilization" of the markets.

The two leaders also addressed issues around which there are different positions, in particular the Syrian conflict in which Moscow is the main Damascus ally, while Riyadh is close to anti-Assad opposition movements (and jihadist groups). Putin spoke of a historic meeting, which will help to strengthen ties between the two nations.

Observers' attention is, however, focused on the intensification of trade between the two countries on military technology and armaments. A breakthrough, just a few months after Donald Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, during which Washington and Riyadh signed milestone agreements in industry and renewed a strong partnership after the frosty times of Barack Obama's presidency.

Saudi Arabia has signed preliminary agreements for the purchase of the S-400 air defense system and "advanced technologies" of Russian production. Added to this are Kornet anti-cargo missiles and last generation rocket launchers. Riyadh's interest in military technology, American or Russian, confirms once more that the Middle East is the center of world trade in arms.

In a note Saudi Arabian Military Industries emphasized that this agreement will play a "fundamental role" in the growth and development of the country's military potential. "The memorandum of understanding - adds the note - includes the transfer of technology to local production."

The two countries have also reached an agreement for the production in Saudi Arabia of the Kalashnikov and its ammunition. Additionally, training and education programs are being promoted by Russians in Saudi Arabia, aimed at "creating hundreds of jobs".

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