The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia arrived in Moscow on a three-day official visit on September 2. It was the first visit of such high level since the establishment of Russian-Saudi diplomatic relations in 1926.
As they met at restricted and enlarged attendance negotiations, President Vladimir Putin and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz al Saud discussed the extension of trade and economic cooperation, mainly in the oil and gas sphere, the Russian President’s initiative for the Russian delegation to join the activities of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the fight against international terrorism, the post-war reconstruction of Iraq and the Middle Eastern settlement.
The parties agreed to closely cooperate for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of UN resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, the land for peace principle, the Arab initiative approved at the Beirut summit, and the Road Map. Mr Putin and Prince Abdullah expressed support for the four international mediators—in particular, in the arrangement of monitoring of all stages of the Road Map. They spoke for the full implementation of international resolutions concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and confirmed the Palestinian right to establish a sovereign and independent state with the capital in East Jerusalem. The parties confirmed that, proceeding from the principle of a just and comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it was necessary to step up peace efforts on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts and resume negotiations on those tracks of the peace process from the point where they were suspended.
Russia and Saudi Arabia firmly and consistently advocated the preservation of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. They hoped that the Iraq Interim Governing Council would be a step toward the establishment of a lawful Iraqi government, which would assume the duty of drafting a Constitution reflecting the situation in the country, and would guarantee the independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Iraq, and the equality of all its citizens. Mr Putin and Prince Abdullah stressed the importance of enhancing the role of the United Nations in the settlement of the Iraqi problem, and emphasised the necessity of tangible international participation in the settlement of such issues as the increase of humanitarian aid and the rehabilitation of the national economy and the social sphere.
The parties expressed support for the idea of making the Middle East a zone free from mass destruction weapons, including nuclear weapons.
The parties discussed the international terrorist threat to the world and denounced whatever forms and manifestations of international terrorism. They expressed determination to step up the fight against terrorism in conformity with the UN Charter and the international law, including collective efforts as an effective means of counteracting and uprooting terrorism.
The Saudi side expressed respect for and understanding of the Russian initiative to extend cooperation with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
The parties also analysed bilateral economic relations and agreed to promote the increase of trade and investment. Mr Putin and Prince Abdullah also stressed the necessity for coordination of and partnership in petroleum policies in order to attain stability and predictability of the petroleum market, the preservation of the acceptable price corridor, and the satisfaction of the demands of fuel importer countries.
Prince Abdullah passed to President Putin a message of greeting from Fahd, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the King of Saudi Arabia, and his invitation to make a state visit to the country. Mr Putin accepted the invitation with gratitude. The terms of the visit were to be agreed upon later via diplomatic channels.
The members of the Russian and Saudi delegations signed a number of documents on cooperation in science, sports and commerce in the presence of President Putin and Crown Prince Abdullah.
In particular, the intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of Oil and Gas envisaged the establishment of a joint working group on cooperation in the oil and gas sector, which would consist of representatives of the Russian Ministry of Energy and the Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
The Memorandum on Cooperation between the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Saudi Arabian Centre for Science and Technology envisaged science and technology cooperation, including the exchange of scientists and specialists, as well as of information of a scientific and technological nature, and the elaboration of joint approaches on scientific and technological issues.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the State Committee for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism of Russia and the Youth and Sports Department of Saudi Arabia was concluded to stimulate cooperation in the field of sports through the coordination of the positions of international sports organisations.
The Memorandum on Cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Russia and the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry expressed the parties’ desire to promote contacts between entrepreneurs and organisations in the two countries, and to pay special attention to the development of cooperation in the field of small and medium-sized business.
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia will stay in Russia up to September 4 and have a number of bilateral meetings and negotiations. In particular, he planned to have talks with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. The official visit was to be summarised in a joint Russian-Saudi statement.