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In this pool photograph distributed by Russian news agency Sputnik on December 7, 2023, Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow. (Photo by Sergei BOBYLYOV / POOL / AFP) / Editor's note : this image is distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik
In this pool photograph distributed by Russian news agency Sputnik on December 7, 2023, Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow. (Photo by Sergei BOBYLYOV / POOL / AFP) / Editor's note : this image is distributed by Russian state owned agency Sputnik
Putin, MBS urge oil cooperation; Raisi visits Russia

RIYADH/MOSCOW: The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia used a rare face-to-face meeting to urge oil producers to stick to pledged supply cuts, a joint statement said Thursday. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to the Saudi capital a day earlier came as oil prices continued to slide, with US oil finishing below $70 per barrel for the first time since July. Analysts have begun to consider the possibility that Saudi Arabia could abruptly decide to open the spigots, recalling a move by the kingdom in 2014 to counter rising US production.

Meeting in Riyadh, Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman highlighted the work of the 23-member OPEC+ group of oil producers “in enhancing the stability of global oil markets”. “They stressed... the need for all participating countries to adhere to the OPEC+ agreement, in a way that serves the interests of producers and consumers and supports the growth of the global economy,” said a statement from the official Saudi Press Agency.

The OPEC+ bloc unveiled fresh supply cuts after a virtual meeting last week, with Russia saying it would slash oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day between January and March, having already introduced a cut of 300,000 barrels a day earlier this year. Saudi Arabia said it would extend

its voluntary production cut of one million barrels per day over the same period. Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Algeria and Oman agreed to make smaller cuts.

Cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia on supply cuts has at times drawn the ire of Washington. Putin’s trip on Wednesday, which also included a stop in the United Arab Emirates, was only his third outside the former Soviet Union since he invaded Ukraine in Feb 2022. Putin and Prince Mohammed also expressed “deep concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza”, where the Zionist entity launched military operations.

Meanwhile, Putin on Thursday praised his country’s relations with Iran at a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, as the two discussed the Zionist-Hamas war. Since launching its assault on Ukraine, Moscow has sought to deepen its economic and political ties with Tehran, both of which have been sanctioned by the West.

“Our relations are developing very well. Please convey my best wishes to leader (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei,” Putin told Raisi, referring to Iran’s head of state. “Thanks to his support, we have gained good momentum over the past year,” Putin said. Western countries have accused Tehran of supporting Russia’s offensive in Ukraine by providing it with large quantities of drones and other weaponry. The two also discussed the Zionist-Hamas war, which has drastically ratcheted up tensions between the Zionist entity and Arab states in the Middle East. “It is very important for us to exchange views on the situation in the region, especially with regard to the situation in Palestine,” Putin said. – AFP

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