Putin to visit S/Arabia, UAE in the hunt for investments

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday and the United Arab Emirates the following day to attract investments to Russia’s struggling economy.

Putin is expected to meet Saudi King Salman and the crown prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, to focus on trade and investments, according to statements by Putin’s office.

Russia’s economy has been crippled in recent years by Ukraine-related sanctions and low prices for a major Russian export, oil. Russia appears unable to meet its three percent growth estimate for a gross domestic product this year.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been seeking to diversify their economies away from oil dependency since prices for the commodity have waned because of a global supply glut.

Russia’s sovereign wealth fund expected to ink deals amounting to more than 2 billion dollars with Saudi partners, it said in a statement. Russian state media reported that the Saudi side is seeking Russia’s assistance for the launch of a satellite from Saudi territory.

Putin and the Saudi leadership would participate in a bilateral trade forum of more than 300 participants, the Russian Direct Investment Fund said. “It will be attended by the largest and most representative delegation of Russian business people in the history of Russia-Saudi relations,” the sovereign fund said in a statement.

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