Saudi king's gold escalator malfunction during historic visit to Russian Federation

Violet Powell
October 7, 2017

It was a historic moment when the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz arrived in Russian Federation with an entourage of 1500 people and a golden escalator that travels with him.

Relations between the two countries in the past have often been strained. During the cold war, the Saudis helped arm Afghan rebels fighting against the Soviet invasion.

But OPEC - led by Saudi Arabia, which holds the world's largest oil reserves - and Russian Federation, a non-OPEC member which nonetheless is a major oil producer, recently reached a broad agreement on production cuts across OPEC and non-OPEC states created to push prices back up.

The two countries also signed a series of multi-billion dollar investment deals including one to create a USD 1 billion fund to pursue energy projects.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said a good amount of trust has been built between Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation and it is changing the political landscape.

"I'm sure your visit will boost the ties between our countries", he said.

"Is there anything in the world that stays unchanged?"

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An extension of the OPEC deal was possible and could last "at least to the end of 2018", said Putin on Wednesday.

"Undoubtedly, the state of affairs in the oil markets and Russian-Saudi cooperation in the interests of stabilizing the situation on these markets were touched upon", the Kremlin spokesman said. "We also support the Astana-based talks, the importance of integrity of Syrian territories and the Syrian institutions". But prices are still half their mid-2014 levels.

Russian Federation at the time also said they'll respond harshly to any United States measures created to hurt it after Washington told Moscow to close its San Francisco consulate and two other facilities.

What is behind Saudi king's "historic" Moscow visit?

For his part, Putin highlighted the importance of the King's visit to Russian Federation and the talks made between the two sides, describing them as rich and trustworthy. Russian Federation may agree to extend the oil-supply agreement until the end of 2018, Putin said Wednesday, although he'll wait to make a decision nearer the expiry of the existing pact in March.

Nasser will also meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday as part of an industry delegation to discuss investment in the oil and gas sector, one of the sources said.

The head of Saudi's state-owned oil giant Aramco Amin Nasser told Rossiya 24 state television ahead of the talks that the company would sign agreements with Russia's Gazprom, Gazprom Neft and Sibur energy companies as well as with an affiliate of Lukoil.

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