190919 Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: On his visit to Saudi Arabia and UAE this week, the Russian President brought along a rare and expensive gift to King Salman and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed.

Vladimir Putin presented to the leaders one of the rarest falcons, the Kamchatka Gyrfalcon. Kamchatka is a 1,250 Km long peninsula in the Russian far east, and the Gyrfalcon is found in that area, famous for being excellent hunters.

Hunting with falcons is a popular sport in Saudi Arabia, which recently hosted the second edition of the Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition in Riyadh last Tuesday as part of Riyadh Season.

The one that was gifted to King Salman is named 'Alpha' after the North pole star.

Putin gifted the birds during his visit to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, where he discussed bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Russia’s president said on Monday that Moscow is committed to developing bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia, which have been ongoing for the past 90 years.

During Putin’s visit, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed 14 deals worth more than $2 billion and discussed the OPEC+ oil output agreement.

Another Kamchatka Gyrfalcon was gifted to His Highness Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The falcon holds a special place for UAE. It can be found on Emirati passports and governmental logos. It is the national bird and considered a symbol of valour and courage, and reflects the importance of falconry in Arab culture.

The UAE on Tuesday hailed the visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and said it would have a great impact and present a quantum leap in the strategic partnership between both nations.

“Dear brother and friend, I would like to welcome you and your honourable accompanying delegation and I hope your visit will have a great impact and present a quantum leap in our strategic partnership. I look forward to our future meetings,” Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, told a joint meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin held at Qasr Al Watan on Tuesday.