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Diplomacy at World Cup opener: Russian and Saudi leaders plan to use occasion for oil talks

By Shubham

Russian President Vladimir Putin planned to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman when the latter visits Russia to view the opening of the Fifa World Cup 2018 on Thursday, June 14, the Kremlin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the media on Wednesday, June 13, Reuters reported.

Diplomacy at World Cup opener: Russian and Saudi leaders plan to use occasion for oil talks

Hosts Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the quadrennial tournament at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium (Indian time 8:30 pm) in Group A. This is the first time these two teams are playing in a World Cup and also the first time since their 1993 friendly encounter which the Saudis won 4-2.

Peskov said the two leaders would speak over the agreement over oil production cut globally which the two countries are leading though they had no plan to discuss quitting the pact, Reuters reported.

The Saudi crown will be among many leaders who will be in Russia to witness the opening of the 21st edition of the mega tournament.

Moscow and Riyadh are working towards a long-term deal to cement their alliance on oil curbs that started in January last year, in the wake of a fall in crude oil prices.

Mohammed bin Salman had told Reuters earlier this year that Saudi Arabia and Russia were eyeing a longer alliance of 10-20 years instead of a year-to-year alliance.

The Saudis have led the OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and allies to join hands to stabilise prices of oil.

In 2014, oil prices took a deep plunge from over $100 a barrel to below $30 per barrel, causing a major impact for the oil-producing economies.

Russia is not a member of the OPEC but has worked with the group during earlier phases of oil surpluses.

Moscow and Riyadh are working on improving their economic relationship despite their opposing stance in Syria where the Saudis are backing the anti-Assad forces and the Russians standing by him.

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