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Russia sovereign fund opens Saudi office ahead of Putin visit

By AFP - Oct 08,2019 - Last updated at Oct 08,2019

MOSCOW — Russia's sovereign wealth fund announced on Tuesday the opening of its first overseas office in Saudi Arabia ahead of President Vladimir Putin's expected visit to Riyadh.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said it hoped to boost bilateral cooperation in economic and other spheres by setting up shop in Saudi Arabia.

Putin is expected to travel to the kingdom for a visit next week. 

"RDIF is the first Russian investment institution to open an office in Saudi Arabia," CEO Kirill Dmitriev was quoted as saying in a statement.

He said the opening of the Saudi office would "enable a breakthrough in a wide range of areas for bilateral cooperation".

RDIF and the kingdom's sovereign fund established a joint fund to invest in various projects.

The parties have funded and approved more 25 joint projects with a total investment of over $2.5 billion across various sectors including artificial intelligence, medicine and infrastructure.

RDIF and the Saudi oil giant Aramco are also considering projects in the oil services sector worth more than $1 billion, the Russian fund said.

Ties between Moscow and Riyadh have grown closer in recent years, with the oil giants spearheading a deal to stem the collapse of oil prices that has hit their economies. 

Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia could lead to the signing of around 30 agreements, including in energy, Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said.

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