Military cooperation between Moscow, Riyadh 'sensitive'

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This was the start of a four-day trip to Russian Federation for the King - the first ever official visit to the country by a Saudi monarch.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has been on his first ever state visit to Moscow, where he met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Oil prices steadied on Thursday on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation would extend production cuts, although record USA exports and the return of supply from a Libyan oilfield dragged on the market.

Echoing the United States, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East, an assertion that Tehran denies.

Saudi Arabia is now investing over $1 billion in over 20 Russian projects including the construction of a petrochemical complex and Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg, Russian Energy Minister and co-chairman of the Russian-Saudi Intergovernmental Commission Alexander Novak said.

Russia's response to the king's demand was not immediately known but Russian Federation has been a strong supporter of Iran as Tehran and Moscow have backed embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a six-year-long civil war against various militant groups.

Hosting the Saudi king in the ornate Kremlin interiors, Putin hailed his visit as a "landmark event" that will give a "strong impulse" to bilateral ties. In 2006, King Salman visited the country when he was the Emir of Riyadh.

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Saudi Arabia will also house a local plant for the production of Kalashnikov automatic rifle, including its ammunition alongside with training for Saudi.

While there was no hints of a major political development, there was no hint of any public discord either.

The two also diverge on Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition military intervention in the country has killed more than 10,000 people since 2015, drawing criticism from Moscow and the worldwide community. "Apart from Syria, the other key issue discussed is coordination between the two countries in stabilising the oil price".

"The Saudis want help on Iran, and Russia wants trade and investment", said Mark N. Katz, a Russia-Middle East relations analyst at George Mason University.

Speaking through an interpreter, he added.

Military sales to Saudi Arabia have come under increased scrutiny over the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen. "We are certain that the further strengthening of Russian-Saudi relations will have a positive impact on strengthening stability and security in the region and the world".

Relations between the two countries have often been strained. More recently, tensions were high over the war in Syria.

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