Saudi energy chief’s exit unlikely to affect Moscow-Riyadh ties, says Kremlin


The exodus of Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, from his post will not affect Russian-Saudi relations in general, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

"The departure of an individual minister is unlikely to affect the general political will of Moscow and Riyadh to continue and further develop [their] multifaceted partnership and mutually beneficial relations," he said.

The Kremlin official did not comment on whether the departure of Khalid al-Falih could affect the OPEC+ deal with Russia on limiting oil production. "I don’t know," he said in response to this question.

The spokesman recalled that preparations for President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia are underway.

"We expect that the visit will be a success," Peskov said.

Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer among OPEC countries. Along with Russia, it acts as the leader of the OPEC+ agreement.

The OPEC+ production reduction pact is valid until the end of March 2020.

In total, the countries participating in the agreement should reduce production by 1.2 mln barrels per day to the level of October 2018.

Under the deal, Russia and Saudi Arabia, being the biggest oil producers, have the largest quotas for reducing production. They are obliged to cut their oil output by 228,000 and 322,000 barrels per day, respectively.

Earlier, the Al Arabyia TV channel reported that Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman had been sworn in as Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy during an official ceremony in Jeddah in front of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz. Prince Abdulaziz replaced Khalid al-Falih, who had held that post since 2015.

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