MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and will hold talks with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a rare trip abroad to discuss oil, OPEC+ and the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.
The meeting between Putin and MbS, whose countries pump one fifth of the world's oil, comes after oil prices declined despite a pledge by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia (OPEC+) to further curtail supply.
Putin is due to hold talks with President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi and then travel to Saudi Arabia for his first face-to-face meeting with MbS since October 2019.
The Kremlin said they would discuss energy cooperation, including as part of OPEC+, whose members pump more than 40% of the world's oil.
"Close Russian-Saudi coordination in this format is a reliable guarantee of maintaining a stable and predictable situation in the global oil market," the Kremlin said.
They will also discuss Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the situation in Syria and Yemen, and broader issues of stability in the Gulf, the Kremlin said. A Kremlin aide said Ukraine would also be discussed.
Relations between Saudi and Russia within the OPEC+ cooperation have at times been uneasy and a deal on cuts almost broke down in March 2020, when the markets were already shaken by the onset of the coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia at the time slashed oil prices for its clients, while Russia said it would be free of any obligations to stick to production quotas.
But the two nations managed to patch up their relations within weeks and OPEC+ agreed to record cuts of almost 10% of global oil demand, to prop-up the oil markets.
In October, Putin praised MbS and said that if there were differences on extending OPEC+ cuts, then the Kremlin would seek consensus.
(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge/Andrew Osborn)