RIYADH – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrived on Monday in the Saudi capital Riyadh in a bid to boost bilateral ties on his first official visit to the kingdom in 12 years.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who received Putin at al-Yamama Palace, praised the relations between both countries and said the visit was an opportunity to further reinforce cooperation.
“Saudi Arabia hopes to work with Russia to achieve peace, stability and security, and fight terrorism,” Salman said in a speech.
Putin said that cooperation between Riyadh and Moscow was vital for strengthening security and stability in the Middle East, according to local media outlets.
Putin added that his country was paying special attention to improving relations with the kingdom since he made his first trip to the Arab country in 2007 and received Salman in 2017 in a historic state visit.
The Russian leader pointed out that the deals sealed during the last visit two years ago are currently being implemented, giving no further details.
Both countries had signed several military transfer agreements for the manufacture of Russian weapons in the Saudi territory.
Putin said trade between Russia and Saudi Arabia had increased by 15 percent, reaching $1 billion last year.
Riyadh is hosting the Russia-Saudi Investment Forum on Monday at a time of rising tension in the Middle East due to Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria.
Russia is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main ally, while Saudi Arabia is one of the most vocal critics of the latter’s government.