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Can Russian-Saudi unity extend beyond oil pact?

Moscow and Riyadh are on the same page currently when it comes to oil, but it's unclear whether that understanding will last long enough to grease the wheels of further collaboration.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Saudi Arabia's King Salman attend a welcoming ceremony ahead of their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Kadobnov/Pool - RC18A862CF80

Russian and Saudi officials say their cooperation in the oil and gas field, as well as joint efforts aimed at stabilizing international oil prices, can finally create solid ground for them to develop long-sought bilateral ties. But their optimism could turn out to be just wishful thinking.

The countries increased their political and economic dialogue during 2017. Apart from the formal increase in the number of political contacts that culminated in the first visit of a Saudi monarch to Russia, their discussions had several practical outcomes. Above all, Moscow and Riyadh managed to work out a common stance on extending the so-called OPEC plus deal, a 2016 agreement signed between the OPEC and non-OPEC members aimed at decreasing their oil production to boost prices on the international market. Russia and Saudi Arabia recently worked with the other parties to extend the deal until the end of 2018. This month, during a phone talk with King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally confirmed the Kremlin’s intention to strengthen cooperation with Riyadh in the oil and gas sphere.

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