"Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner of the United States and that situation will not change. At the same time, the Saudi government understands the need to expand its international ties, including with Russia, China and other countries," Lebanese political analyst Nidal Sabea told Sputnik Arabic.
Commenting on the possibility of a coalition between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the expense of Riyadh’s cooperation with Washington, Sabea underscored, "This will never happen."
On Thursday, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived in Moscow for the first ever visit of a reigning Saudi monarch to Russia. He also brought with him a 1,000-strong delegation of Saudi high-profile officials and businessmen.
According to Sabea, the visit was the result of the efforts of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who built a friendly relationship with Putin during his first visit to Russia in 2015 as Saudi Arabia’s defense minister.
"President Putin invited the Saudi king to visit Moscow two years ago during a phone conversation. The visit has been delayed several times, but the situation changed. Russia wants a more balanced policy in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia is a major power in the region. In particular, Riyadh can help resolve the Syrian crisis and this is what Vladimir Putin wants," the analyst pointed out.
Russia and Saudi Arabia have been at odds over the conflict in Syria, in which Moscow has supported the legitimate Syrian government while Riyadh has supported opposition groups. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has been concerned about Russia’s cooperation with Iran, Riyadh’s principal rival in the Middle East. However, the visit has indicated a slight improvement on the issue.
During the talks in Moscow, King Salman said that the view of the Saudi leadership on the Syrian settlement coincides with the position of Moscow and Riyadh also seeks a political solution that would guarantee Syria’s stability and territorial integrity.