Saudi Minister Doesn't Rule Out Moscow-Riyadh Strategic Partnership

Moscow on Thursday saw a meeting between Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov and the visiting Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal.

The Energy Ministry press office told RIA Novosti the two men voiced their unanimous opinion that the visit to Moscow of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah, due in the near future, would give a powerful fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations, in the energy sphere among other things. The ministers also recognised the significant untapped potential of this relationship.

The Saudi minister stressed that mutually beneficial links "could evolve into a strategic partnership." Referring to latest developments on world energy markets, Saud said both the consumers and the exporters of oil were "interested in a healthy demand for healthy commodities." Saud opined that despite the important environmental differences between the two countries, their technologies for prospecting for and extraction of fossil fuels "can and must complement each other." He went on to say that his country intended to use the natural gas from its domestic deposits for its internal needs only.

The Russian minister suggested that RAO Gazprom, which has a virtual monopoly on natural gas extraction in Russia, might participate in developing those gas fields. The Saudi minister, for his part, emphasised that his country would "welcome such participation."

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