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          $1.3b deals with UAE cap Putin's Gulf trip

          By Ren Qi in Moscow | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-17 08:47
          Russian President Vladimir Putin presents a gyrfalcon as a gift to Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (second from right) during their meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday. ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/KREMLIN/AP

          Broad range of investments clinched on tour that also took Russian leader to Riyadh

          Russia and the United Arab Emirates inked $1.3 billion in deals during Russian President Vladimir Putin's second leg of a visit to the Persian Gulf region.

          Experts have deemed the trip to be one of the most important made by the president this year.

          The Abu Dhabi leg followed Putin's historic visit to Saudi Arabia on Monday. Putin last visited the UAE in 2007.

          Deals signed in the UAE covered the energy, advanced technology and health sectors, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, or RDIF.

          Putin told a meeting with business representatives of the two countries that the agreements also extended to investments that would be made in petrochemicals, transport and medicine.

          Putin said Russia welcomes the UAE's investments in the Russian economy. He cited the Emirati investment fund Mubadala as being one of the first partners of the RDIF; together they have implemented more than 45 projects worth $2.3 billion.

          "The return on these investments is significant; sometimes they have been three times higher than global standards," Putin said.

          The streets of Abu Dhabi were lined with Emirati and Russian flags, while road signs that usually display warnings for motorists greeted Putin in Arabic and Russian.

          Sheikh Mohammed, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, said in a Twitter post that Putin's visit reflects the strength of UAE-Russia relations. Both sides would continue to promote these ties at all levels for the mutual benefit of the two countries, he said.

          Cooperation in agriculture

          Russia expressed its intention to improve bilateral cooperation in agriculture, especially in farm products and meat supply.

          Aside from the deals covering a broad spectrum of economic cooperation, Putin also pledged to help the UAE develop nuclear power.

          "Our friends in the Emirates can count on Russian assistance in the development of nuclear power generation. Rosatom offers its unique capabilities, competence and modern technologies that meet the highest standards, including those for security," said the Russian leader, referring to Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation.

          Rosatom is a state corporation that specializes in nuclear energy.

          Russian newspaper Izvestia reported that Russia's position on the situation in the Middle East was made clear by Putin during his visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, adding that Moscow sought to show its ability and willingness to play a positive role in resolving the tensions there.

          Roland Bidzhamov, a Russian expert, said Russia could play a big role in the region since both Iran and Saudi Arabia had an interest in resolving their conflicts, and neither country wanted to see an escalation.

          Bidzhamov said Russia is acting as a responsible external player that is helping to defuse the crisis and is willing to outline steps to form a security zone in the region.

          Vyacheslav Matuzov, a Russian political commentator, said Putin's Gulf visit was one of the most important made by the president this year.

          Matuzov said the visit not only served to boost Russia's bilateral ties with the two Gulf nations, but would contribute to the normalization of the situation in the Middle East.

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