Source Pravda.Ru

Saudis Again to Pay Russia for Iraq?

Saudi Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Ali al-Nuaimi is going to visit Russia on March 12-15, the Saudi Embassy in the Russian Federation informs. The visit will be held in the network of coordination of the energy policy carried out by both countries, the world largest oil exporters; the visit is expected to strengthen cooperation between Moscow and Er-Riyadh in this sphere, the Embassy explains. However, it is perfectly clear that all talks about coordination of cooperation and like this must be of some specific nature on the eve of a war in the Persian Gulf.

The Saudi minister of oil was invited to Moscow by his Russian colleague, Energy Minister Igor Yusufov. This is a so-called return visit: Russian Minister Igor Yusufov visited Saudi Arabia in January in the network of his tour about the Persian Gulf countries and discussed international petroleum affairs with Ali al-Nuaimi. It is not ruled out that the parties discussed even other problems. Russia’s Foreign Ministry informs that “problems connected with coordination of the Russian-Saudi cooperation in the energy sphere” will be done taking into consideration the tense situation in Iraq.

According to some sources, during the Desert Storm operation Saudi Arabia actively negotiated with the USSR the problem of nonintervention of the Soviet leadership into the conflict. The Soviet Union was offered three billion dollars if it agreed to render no assistance to Saddam Hussein. And although the Gulf War began before the negotiations between Saudi Arabia and the USSR were over, Saudi sheikhs all the same paid 1.5 billion dollars.

Is it possible that this kind of cooperation can be established between Russia and Saudi Arabia now? The Russian leadership declares it won’t participate in any bargaining in connection with the Iraqi crisis; what is more, it is not going to obtain some advantages for the country at the expense of Russia’s support to the US’s position. But is it likely that Russia’s top politicians expect to obtain some advantages for the country at the expense of support to the position of Saudi Arabia, which by the way is not the same as America’s? Why not?

Akhtyam Akhtyrov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://economics.pravda.ru/economics/2003/7/21/64/8203_RusSaudiOil.html

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