King Salman and Vladimir Putin attend the official welcome ceremony in Riyadh on Monday. Alexander Zemlianichenko / AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to Saudi Arabia on Monday, meeting with Saudi King and Crown Prince as he seeks to cement Moscow's political and energy ties across the Mideast.
Putin received all the trappings of a state visit, with a mounted guard escorting his limousine to King Salman's Al Yamamah palace in Riyadh on his first visit to the kingdom since 2007.
Putin listened to a Saudi military band play Russia's national anthem, then greeted officials and sat with King Salman for a conversation captured by state television. Earlier, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman walked up to greet Putin on his arrival.
The crown prince later engaged in a conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Keeping Russia with the oil cartel, an arrangement now known as OPEC+, appeared likely to top discussions.
Saudi Arabia likely also wants to talk about ongoing tensions gripping the wider Middle East.
Saudi Arabia remains worried about Iran. Since President Donald Trump pulled out of Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago, risks have risen in the Arabian Gulf.
Since the summer, a series of attacks have targeted oil tankers in the region.
These attacks culminated in a Sept.14 drone-and-cruise-missile assault that knocked out half of Saudi Arabia's oil production.
The US blames Iran for the attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Saudi Arabia, a traditional US ally in the Middle East, in October this year, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.
Attacks by two extremist groups killed at least 17 Syrian government troops and militiamen in the northern province of Aleppo early on Saturday, a war monitor said. Thirty others were wounded in the assaults by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria branch,
Despite being on opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, Syria regime backers Iran and Russia have worked closely with rebel supporter Turkey to find a political solution.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that Xi said "the safety of people's lives and their physical health should be given top priority", as the virus fuelled fears of a major outbreak during the Lunar New Year migration this week.
The 4th International Rain Enhancement Forum (IREF), organized by the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), hosted a number of expert-led sessions on its second day.
Violent hailstorms and damaging winds hit parts of New South Wales state including bushfire-affected coastal towns on Monday, but hot and windy conditions are forecast to return to many parts of NSW later in the week.
Nigerian novelist and poet Lola Shoneyin was at #BookTalks at Al Rawi Café in Sharjah discussing her multiple award-winning debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, which explores the structure and effects of polygamy in Nigeria.