UAE president to meet Putin in Russia after OPEC+’s output cuts

UAE president to meet Putin in Russia after OPEC+'s output cuts

According to UAE state media WAM, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (pictured) and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will be discussing the countries’ “friendly relations,” alongside “regional and international issues and developments of common interest.”

Christophe Petit Tesson | Afp | Getty Images

The president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, will head to Russia on Tuesday to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin.

According to UAE state media WAM, both leaders will be discussing the countries’ “friendly relations,” alongside “regional and international issues and developments of common interest.”

The UAE ruler’s visit comes a week after OPEC+, an alliance of oil producers which includes Russia and the UAE, agreed to impose deep output cuts to shore up crude prices despite calls from the U.S. to pump more to bolster the global economy.

The Kremlin had on Sunday praised the organization’s decision to slash output. 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the move was a “balanced, thoughtful and planned work of the countries, which take a responsible position within OPEC,” according to Russian media outlets.

The cut had strained relations between the oil cartel and the United States.

The White House said in a statement that President Joe Biden was “disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.” 

Following the announcement of the UAE leader’s visit, Dubai’s former finance chief said on Twitter that Mohamed was heading to Russia to “[defuse] a European war that exhausted the world.”

Calming Russia-West tensions?

One analyst told CNBC that the trip could diffuse tensions between Russia and the West that were sparked by the Ukraine war.

“Due to its diplomatic prowess and high stakes in peace and stability, the UAE is well placed to help Putin grab the golden bridge to exit the war, one that the US and its Western allies have been ready to extend for long,” said Asif Shuja, a senior research fellow at the Middle East Institute.

Others were skeptical, however.

“The trip seems to be a politically motivated move and is advertised as the UAE’s efforts to bring peace back to the region,” said Iman Nasseri, managing director of Facts Global Energy, an energy consultancy.

He added that the UAE and Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s “two main players,” have shown their support for Russia over the past seven to eight months in several ways: keeping to the previous OPEC+ deal; reacting in a “very small” way to the United States’ and Europe’s request for a production increase in August; and by softening the impact of EU sanctions through re-exporting Russian petroleum products in the UAE city of Fujairah.

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