Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the UAE today is a milestone in relations between the two countries.
Putin’s meeting with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is expected to enhance the growing strategic ties between Abu Dhabi and Moscow.
The Russian president’s visit comes at a time when the geopolitical landscape of the region is evolving fast. The twists and turns in the Syrian conflict, the Yemen war and the aggressive Iranian manoeuvres in the Strait of Hormuz, all broaden the agenda for talks in Abu Dhabi.
Russia and the UAE will sign a host of agreements in diverse areas like energy sector as well as in technology, culture and investment. Russia has viewed with interest the UAE’s role as a responsible player in global oil cooperation under the Opec-plus. And that will give a fillip to discussions related to the energy sector.
The Russian president’s visit comes at a time when the geopolitical landscape of the region is evolving fast. The twists and turns in the Syrian conflict, the Yemen war and the aggressive Iranian manoeuvres in the Strait of Hormuz, all broaden the agenda for talks in Abu Dhabi
Over the years, economic ties between the two countries have increased manifold. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the country’s leading sovereign fund, has become a major negotiator as joint investments with Mubadala continue to develop.
The Abu-Dhabi-based fund has invested in more than 45 Russian businesses during the past four years. The volume of bilateral trade has also grown and Russia is among the UAE’s top trading partners in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the UAE is Russia’s primary trade partner in the Gulf.
With a sizeable Russian-speaking community of around 100,000 (of whom about 40,000 are Russian nationals and 60,000 are citizens of former Soviet states), the UAE, which is a melting pot of cultures, is eager to foster people-to-people relations.
Over the years tourism has been a success story. Currently about 111 flights operate per week between Russia and the UAE. The recent space mission by Hazzaa Al Mansoori to the International Space Station on-board a Soyuz rocket was a prime example of the growing cooperation between the two countries.
From a global perspective, Russia sees the UAE as a stabilising force in the region.
This was reiterated by President Putin’s recent statement that without the UAE support, Russian-led efforts to stabilise Syria would not have been possible.
Both Abu Dhabi and Moscow will also continue to address the wide range of regional security issues like Syria, Yemen and Iran.