We are very glad to have the opportunity to meet with one of the leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Russia.
As you know, Russia has long-standing and very profound relations with the Muslim world and the Arab world as a whole.
We coordinate our activities in international energy markets with OPEC, an organisation in which your country plays a very significant and appreciable role.
And we are certainly not indifferent to what is happening in one of the world’s troubled regions, in the Middle East.
We are worried about the general situation. We are worried about the fate of Chairman Arafat. You know our position. We support Saudi Arabia’s initiative to find a Middle East peace settlement. It is one of the initiatives based on the document that the Quartet developed in Madrid. We consider that it is still premature to determine the results of the American State Secretary’s visit to the region. I would be very interested to hear your opinion on the situation and your impression of the state of affairs today. And not only with respect to the conflict between Israel and Palestine but also to other sensitive areas such as Iraq.
And, of course, our mutual relations. Unfortunately, our economic cooperation does not correspond to our potential. I am even ashamed to cite our volume of trade – 120 million dollars. In practice, this represents the absence of economic relations.
We very much expect, dear Mr Minister, that your visit will stimulate the development of relations between economic actors in both Saudi Arabia and in Russia.