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    Putin Starts Visit to UAE as Moscow-Abu Dhabi Cooperation Reaches New Heights

    © Sputnik / Сергей Гунеев
    Middle East
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will start his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday to discuss with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan the state of affairs in the Middle East as well as the burgeoning bilateral cooperation.

    The visit of the Russian president captures a historic milestone in the relations between the two countries as the first UAE astronaut, Hazzaa Ali Al Mansoori, travelled to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Russian spacecraft Soyuz MS-15 in September. Mansoori successfully returned from his eight-day mission on the Soyuz MS-12 spacecraft on October 3.

    This achievement is widely celebrated in the UAE, while Russia could seize an opportunity to further boost cooperation in space, culture and business on the heels of this success. Most recently, Director General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, in an interview with Sputnik, has lauded Russia's crucial role in the industry, specifically pointing out the fact that its Soyuz rockets were currently the only way to transport astronauts.

    The introduction of the visa-free regime this year for the trips lasting no longer than 90 days has also given a great impetus to the Russian-UAE ties.

    The Agenda of the Visit

    Putin and the crown prince are set to pay special attention to the situation in Syria, Libya and Yemen. Rising tensions in the Persian Gulf are also on the table due to the series of attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman and Strait of Hormuz, as well as a drone attack on Saudi oil facilities. The United States and its allies put the blame for attacks on Iran, while Tehran has refuted all accusations.

    After the talks, the sides will hold meetings with representatives of Russian and UAE business circles. The sides are likely to touch upon cooperation on nuclear energy as Russia has been supplying fuel for Barakah, the UAE’s first nuclear power plant. CEO of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) Mohamed Al Hammadi, in an interview with Sputnik, has expressed the country's interest to further boost nuclear cooperation.

    At the same time, Russia and the UAE are planning to hold an annual exhibition aimed at promoting industrial companies and services. The countries are also getting ready for the Expo 2020 Dubai, where Russia will have its own exhibition pavilion.

    The bilateral investment portfolio may rise as a result of Putin’s visit. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the UAE Mubadala investment company have already implemented over 45 deals worth $2.3 billion and plan to increase their investment portfolio to $7 billion, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov has recently said.

    The Russian delegation accompanying Putin to the Gulf country may also discuss the sales of Aurus, a Russian luxury car brand of cars, in the UAE. Russia hopes that it will not only sell the luxurious vehicles in the Middle-eastern country, but will also launch production of a number of models.


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