Saudi, Russia sign nuclear deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad Bin Salman at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia on Thursday signed six agreements with Russia including the peaceful use of nuclear technology, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

The news comes after Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg on Thursday after arriving in Moscow late Wednesday in an official visit, the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Meanwhile, two sources told Reuters that the oil ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to discuss a broad cooperation agreement on Thursday at an economic forum in St Petersburg.

Saudi Arabia is the top producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the world’s top oil exporter, while Russia, which is not an OPEC member, is the second biggest oil supplier to the global markets.

One source said the agreement to be discussed between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi would not be about joint oil production or export strategy.

Russia has stepped up contacts with OPEC after oil prices plunged last year, but it has dismissed any suggestion it might cut output to prop up prices. OPEC has also refused to curb its output in order to defend market share.

A spokeswoman for Russia’s Energy Ministry confirmed the meeting but declined to comment on the agenda.

Prior to the meeting to meeting, the Saudi ambassador to Russia Abdulrahman Al-Rassi said Moscow has an “important” role in implementing a Security Council resolution on Yemen, SPA reported him as saying on Thursday.

Rassi said there was an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Russia on maintaining legitimacy of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government, and that Moscow was key in implementing Resolution No. 2216, which demands that the Iran-backed Houthi militias withdraw from all areas seized during the latest conflict and relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions.

He said Russia’s role was also “important” when it comes to regional countries such as Iran, stressing that Russia was a super and important power in the Security Council to “maintain stability and security in the world.”

He added: “I think that Russia is feeling this responsibility and we always hope and talk with Russian officials on the Iranian issue or other. I do not think that Russia’s interest is in the instability in the region and this is certain.”

Melee erupts between Yemen govt supporters

Meanwhile in a related story, Supporters of the Yemeni government in exile interrupted a press event given by Houthi officials in Geneva on Thursday, throwing shoes and insulting them as “criminals” and “dogs” who were “killing children” in Yemen.

Hamza Al-Houthi, head of the Houthi delegation to U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva, stayed composed throughout the melee of several minutes that began when a woman in a headscarf went to the podium and threw a shoe at him, an insult in the Arab world.

“They are killing the children of south Yemen,” a pro-government supporter shouted before a fistfight broke out between Houthis and government supporters. The latter were then escorted out.

(With Reuters)

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Last Update: 17:23 KSA 20:23 - GMT 17:23
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