RUSSIA-SAUDI TALKS TO FOCUS ON HI-TECH

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BEIRUT, May 28 (RIA Novosti, Pavel Davydov) - The second session of the Russian-Saudi intergovernmental commission for trade and economic, and research and technological cooperation opened today in Riyadh. It will consider joint companies projects, exchange of technological innovations, cooperation in personnel training, and also joint efforts of experts, aimed at stability and predictability of energy markets.

Andrei Baklanov, Russia's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said on the phone that a Russian delegation headed by Sergei Oganesyan, the head of the Federal Energy Agency, had arrived in Riyadh to attend the session.

It is basically the completion of the first, "introductory stage" in the Russian-Saudi economic, and research and technological cooperation. It marks transition to further, more productive practical interaction, said Baklanov.

He added the talks would certainly focus on hi-tech, which would hopefully become the core of bilateral cooperation.

The Saudi side has suggested that Russian and Saudi experts meet to determine both the strategy and specific avenues of cooperation, in particular, peaceful space exploration.

"In the past few years, Russian missile carriers have helped put in orbit six Saudi communications satellites, and now the sides plan to do more," said the ambassador.

"Permanently operating interaction bodies, including an expert group for oil and gas, would be set up after the meeting to help quickly solve emerging issues," he added.

In parallel, a business forum will be held in Riyadh. About 50 Russian businessmen have arrived at the forum, with Vladimir Yevtushenkov, the chairman of the Russian-Saudi business council and of the Sistema joint stock financial corporation, as the chief delegate.

On Sunday, Russian entrepreneurs will visit oil and petrochemical facilities in the eastern province of the kingdom and meet the leadership of the Saudi Aramco oil company in Dammam.

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