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    Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation

    Russia Denies Discussing Oil Output Freeze With Saudi Deputy Crown Prince

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    Russia has not negotiated the proposed deal on freezing oil outputs with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Salman bin Mohammed Al Saud, who is also the country’s defense minister, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Sunday, energy ministers of oil producing states failed to agree on freezing oil output at January levels to shore up prices after Riyadh unexpectedly backed out of an all-but-certain agreement. The Saudi defense minister announced that his country would only sign the agreement if Iran, as well as other major oil producers, joins the deal.

    "As for the negotiations, they are carried out, of course, at the ministerial level, we did not hold [talks] with the prince, who is also the defense minister,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Kommersant FM radio station.

    According to Novak, the Russian side believed that Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Naimi “until the last moment expressed his leadership’s position that the deal would be agreed.”

    Relations between the Sunni kingdom and Iran have been strained since early January when Riyadh severed diplomatic ties with Tehran over an attack on its embassy and consulate in Iran following the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

    Saudi Arabia continues to insist that Iran, which only recently reappeared in the energy market after years of international sanctions, should be part of any production cuts.


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