Putin in UAE on second Gulf visit this year


The Russian leader was due to hold talks with his UAE counterpart President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the official WAM news agency said without giving any detailed agenda.



It was the first visit to the UAE by a Russian head of state since it won independence from Britain in 1971.



Putin was accompanied by the director of arms exporter Rosoboronexport, as well as those of the airline Aeroflot and space agency Roskosmos.



The Russian leader already visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar in February.



In Qatar, which like Russia is one of the world’s biggest gas producers, Putin discussed the idea of a gas version of the OPEC oil cartel.



In Saudi Arabia, he offered Russia’s help in developing a civil nuclear programme for the kingdom, which has been alarmed by Russia’s construction of a nuclear reactor for its rival Iran across the Gulf.



Putin arrived from Australia where he attended the 21-nation Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit alongside US President George W. Bush.



On Friday, he also signed an agreement that will let Russia buy an estimated one billion dollars’ worth of Australian uranium a year.



And on his way to Sydney, Putin oversaw a billion-dollar deal to sell arms to Indonesia.



Indonesia is the world’s most populous Mulsim country and the Russian leader has spoken of his determination to improve ties with the Islamic world.



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