Saudi king slams Ira­nian in­ter­fer­ence in Mid­dle East dur­ing ‘his­toric’ visit to Rus­sia

Saudi King Sal­man is in Moscow with a del­e­ga­tion that in­cludes do­mes­tic military and oil ex­perts. It is the first-ever visit by a sit­ting Saudi monarch to Rus­sia

The Daily News Egypt - - International -

DW—While Rus­sia and Saudi Ara­bia agreed on an arms dealThurs­day in Moscow Saudi King Sal­man in­sisted that Iran must stop med­dling in Mid­dle East af­fairs.

“We em­pha­size that the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of the Gulf re­gion and the Mid­dle East is an ur­gent ne­ces­sity for achiev­ing sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in Ye­men,” Sal­man said, as quoted by Rus­sia’s In­ter­fax news agency. “This would de­mand that Iran give up in­ter­fer­ence with the in­ter­nal af­fairs of the re­gion, to give up ac­tions desta­bi­liz­ing the sit­u­a­tion in this re­gion.”

Iran has been back­ing Houthi rebels in Ye­men, a close ally and next-door neigh­bor of Saudi Ara­bia. Saudi Ara­bia, mean­while, is lead­ing the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion launch­ing daily airstrikes against Houthi-held set­tle­ments in Ye­men.

Rus­sia’s re­sponse to the king’s de­mand was not im­me­di­ately known but Rus­sia has been a strong sup­porter of Iran as Tehran and Moscow have backed em­bat­tled Syr­ian President Bashar al-As­sad dur­ing a six-year-long civil war against var­i­ous mil­i­tant groups.

By con­trast,SaudiAra­bia has been sup­port­ing the rebel groups seek­ing to top­ple As­sad.

As for the arms deal, Saudi Ara­bia is buy­ing the S-400 air de­fense sys­tem, the Kor­net anti-tank guided mis­sile sys­tems and mul­ti­ple rocket launch­ers. The Saudi Ara­bian Military Industries (SAMI) is­sued a state­ment say­ing the pur­chases fea­tured “cut­ting edge tech­nolo­gies” but they did not say how much the deal was worth.

De­fense in­dus­try and oil

These agree­ments are “ex­pected to play a piv­otal role in the growth and de­vel­op­ment of the military and military sys­tems in­dus­try in Saudi Ara­bia,” the SAMI state­ment added.

“The mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing in­cludes the trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy for the lo­cal pro­duc­tion” of the Kor­net.

“In ad­di­tion, the par­ties will co­op­er­ate in set­ting a plan to lo­cal­ize the man­u­fac­tur­ing and sus­tain­ment of parts of the S-400 air de­fense sys­tem,” ac­cord­ing to the SAMI state­ment.

Moscow and Riyadh also agreed to de­velop pro­duc­tion in Saudi Ara­bia of the Kalash­nikov au­to­matic ri­fle and its am­mu­ni­tion as well as ed­u­ca­tional and train­ing pro­grams for Saudi na­tion­als.

“These agree­ments are ex­pected to have tan­gi­ble eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tions and cre­ate hun­dreds of di­rect jobs,” the state-owned com­pany’s state­ment said.

The deals “will also trans­fer cut­ting edge tech­nolo­gies that will act as a cat­a­lyst for lo­cal­iz­ing 50 per­cent of the King­dom’s military spend­ing.”

The two lead­ers dis­cussed oil dur­ing their “his­toric” meet­ing. Both coun­tries have been hit hard by a plunge in oil prices three years ago. A bar­rel of oil was sell­ing for more than $100 a bar­rel in mid2014 when it be­gan a rapid de­cline, at one point fall­ing be­low $40, and cur­rently trad­ing at around $50.

But OPEC — led by Saudi Ara­bia, which holds the world’s largest oil re­serves — and Rus­sia, a non-OPEC mem­ber which none­the­less is a ma­jor oil pro­ducer, re­cently reached a broad agree­ment on pro­duc­tion cuts across OPEC and non-OPEC states de­signed to push prices back up.

Moscow and Riyadh also agreed to de­velop pro­duc­tion in Saudi Ara­bia of the Kalash­nikov au­to­matic ri­fle

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